The coronavirus pandemic has led to fewer people accessing NHS services for a range of conditions, including support with mental health problems, learning disabilities, autism and dementia.
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), providers of mental health and learning disability services across the north of England, are urging people to seek support if they need it.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive of CNTW and Chair of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) Mental Health programme said: “We know that many people are understandably worried about catching or spreading the virus. People are also worried about being a ‘burden’ on the NHS system. But the NHS is here to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as your physical health.
“You shouldn’t put off seeing a doctor about a physical health condition, and the same goes for your mental health: the earlier you seek help, the better.”
“We are also working hard with our colleagues across the Integrated Care System to find new ways to support people who are struggling with their mental health as quickly as possible during this crisis. For example, at CNTW we are working alongside TEWV to divert mental health calls away from NHS 111 operators and provide advice to paramedics attending mental health-related calls.”
If you need urgent help with your mental health right now, you can use the NHS 111 online service or call 111.
If you are concerned about the mental health of your child, please contact your GP or check online self-referral options for under 18 year olds at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/
If you’re already being supported by CNTW or TEWV, you should continue to access services as usual, unless you have been told that there have been changes in how support is being provided. Your key worker should discuss with you any changes to the support you’ll be receiving.
If you have a learning disability or Autism and need medical help, reasonable adjustments will be made so you get the right care and support. Your local community teams and crisis support lines are still available if you are feeling worried or anxious.
Colin Martin, Chief Executive at TEWV added: “It is understandable if you feel you need more mental health support at the moment. Lots of people are facing stress and anxiety about their own health and the health of friends and family; bereavements; financial insecurity, and changes to how they must live and work. Mental health services are still open to provide advice, support and, where needed, care and treatment from our expert professionals. Please speak to your GP or Care Coordinator if you feel you need more support.”
The NHS is still here to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll give you the care you need.