Mental Health UK joins peers in saying mental health support for charity workers and volunteers ‘must be a national priority’

Mental Health UK has today published a joint open letter with fellow leaders in the sector thanking charity workers and volunteers for their service during the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasising that supporting their mental health and wellbeing must be a “national priority”.


The joint letter, signed by Mental Health UK’s chief executive Brian Dow and leaders from almost 20 other leading organisations, praises the “courage, resilience and humanity” shown by key workers at the forefront of the pandemic, but also acknowledges that mental health support must become a priority as we recover from the crisis.

Moreover, it encourages that all organisations with staff working in pressurised environments due to Covid-19 are made aware of and signpost towards ‘Our Frontline’, a free mental health support service for all health, care, emergency, education and key workers.


The full open letter and list of signatories can be read below:


Right across the UK throughout the COVID19 global pandemic, people have responded to the challenges with extraordinary determination, creativity and care.

As a group of Mental Health Leaders, we want staff working across health, care and education (both formal and informal) to know that we appreciate you and know how central your contributions are to sustaining the mental health of the nation. 

We are grateful for your courage, resilience and humanity in the face of ever-changing circumstances and relentlessly difficult choices. We also acknowledge the pressures on your mental and physical wellbeing. Supporting you must be a national priority over the coming months.

We have been heartened that leaders of organisations have prioritised your wellbeing and mental health, but this has not been a universal experience. It is vital that excellent support is available in all organisations, and that all staff know about the additional mental health support that is available through Our Frontline.

Our Frontline is for all health, care, emergency, education and key workers. It offers one to one support by call or text as well as resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. If you want to talk you can call 0800 069 6222 from 7am – 11pm if you are in England or 116 123 from anywhere else in the UK. You can text FRONTLINE to 85258 twenty-four hours a day. Find out more

The COVID19 vaccine provides us with hope, and we will prevail. But there is still a distance to travel and there will be more difficult days ahead. This is a heartfelt message of recognition and solidarity with you and your families. It is important to take the wellbeing of keyworkers seriously both now and for a long time to come. We will work tirelessly to ensure your mental health is at the heart of the recovery.

Finally, we urge government, employers and society as a whole to make sure that those who are looking after us have the best possible support, a vital step we cannot afford to ignore. 

  • Julie Bentley CEO, Samaritans
  • Simon Blake CEO, Mental Health First Aid England
  • Tracey Bleakley CEO, Hospice UK
  • Brian Dow CEO, Mental Health UK
  • Sean Duggan CEO, Mental Health Network, The NHS Confederation
  • Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
  • Peter Fonagy CEO, The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Victoria Hornby CEO, Mental Health Innovations
  • Sarah Hughes CEO, Centre for Mental Health
  • Poppy Jaman CEO, City Mental Health Alliance
  • Adrian James President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Chris Martin CEO, The Mix
  • Paul Ojok CEO, Helplines Partnership
  • Catherine Roache CEO, Place2Be
  • Kathy Roberts CEO, Association of Mental Health Providers
  • Mark Rowland CEO, Mental Health Foundation
  • Emma Thomas CEO, Young Minds
  • Rosie Tressler CEO Student Minds
  • Mark Winstanley CEO, Rethink Mental Illness

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