New Every Mind Matters campaign launched

A new Every Mind Matters campaign has been launched to support the nation’s mental health, as half of adults say they are more worried during this current lockdown than in March 2020.

A new survey, commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) at the start of the current government restrictions, reveals the impact coronavirus has had on adults’ mental well-being across the country. The research found that 49 per cent felt that the pandemic has impacted negatively on their mental health and well-being, a feeling shared by more women than men.

Of those surveyed, significant proportions of the population said they had been experiencing more anxiety (46 per cent), stress (44 per cent), sleep problems (34 per cent) and low mood (46 per cent) over the course of the pandemic.

However, at the same time, 60 per cent of those asked say they feel hopeful about the future, with as many as three in five reporting that they are planning to take or have taken steps to look after their mental well-being, with exercising regularly (32 per cent) eating well (29 per cent) and talking more to family and friends (28 per cent) being the main actions.

To support people during this time, PHE has launched a nationwide Better Health - Every Mind Matters campaign to support people to take action to look after their mental health and wellbeing and help support others such as family and friends. It encourages people to get a free NHS-approved Mind Plan from the Every Mind Matters website, which provides adults with a personalised action plan with practical tips to help them deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control. Over 2.6 million Mind Plans have been created since it launched in October 2019.

The Every Mind Matters COVID-19 hub also includes practical tips and support on how adults can deal with uncertainty, how to cope with money and job worries and how to look after both their own and their family’s mental wellbeing while staying at home.

Clare Perkins, director of the Mental Health Programme at Public Health England, said: “While the experience of the pandemic has been different for everyone, there’s no doubt it has caused unprecedented challenges, and, not surprisingly, many of us are now experiencing poorer mental well-being.

“Stress, anxiety and worry are very natural feelings in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, and looking after our mental wellbeing has never been more important. The good news is that our Every Mind Matters Covid-19 resources have lots of excellent practical tips and advice, and I’d encourage you to get a free NHS Mind Plan, which will give you simple steps to help you navigate these challenging times.”

Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said: “The results of Public Health England’s survey are concerning, but sadly not surprising. As the crisis continues and restrictions return, it’s inevitable that an ongoing toll will be taken on the nation’s mental health.

“We welcome the support from the Every Mind Matters campaign. Of course, not everyone surveyed will need mental health services, but it’s vital that we look after our mental health in the same way we look after our physical health. There is a consensus that the pandemic will cause an increase in demand for mental health services, and the Centre for Mental Health has suggested 10 million people may need new or additional support as a result.  

“Some of our members are already seeing an increase in demand – for example, an increase in referrals to children and young people’s mental health services. Our members are also reporting an increase in severity of conditions. The effects of the pandemic and consecutive lockdowns mental health may not have fully surfaced yet. We will need extra support for mental health to be available in the months and years to come. The £500 million of extra funding next financial year will help to meet additional demand, but it must be a down-payment. Our work with the Health Foundation showed the cost of meeting additional demand for mental health services will be £1.4 billion next year.”