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Mind Calls On UK’s Covid-19 Inquiry To Consider Mental Health Impact Of Pandemic

Mental health charity Mind, alongside 30 other organisations, is calling on the UK’s Covid-19 Inquiry to prioritise mental health after it rowed back on previous commitments to consider it in Module 3 – the ‘Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare systems’.

In an open letter published today, Mind and others warn the Inquiry risks letting down millions of people if it fails to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health.

Mind is the only mental health organisation to have been granted Core Participant status in Module 3 of the Inquiry, and as such it can submit evidence, call witnesses and steer its investigations and scope. Module 3 focuses on the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems, patients and staff, with consideration of the UK’s government’s and public’s response to the pandemic.

To the Covid-19 Inquiry,

The Inquiry’s refusal to examine the mental health consequences of the pandemic risks failing the people with pre-existing mental health conditions who died at five times the rate of the general population. It risks failing the eight million people who sought help with their mental health and were turned away. And it risks failing future generations by not allowing a proper examination of what can be done better in the event of another pandemic.

Despite positive indications from the last module 3 hearing that mental health would now be fully considered by the Inquiry, we are deeply disappointed by this U-turn. The exceptionally narrow focus on the few inpatient beds that are provided to children and young people means serious questions will not be answered.

These questions include, why was their no public mental health plan? Why did those with pre-existing mental health conditions die at five times the rate of the general population? What help was given to our frontline staff?  Why were the psychiatric hospitals emptied at the same time that community care was shut down?

The Inquiry was set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and learn lessons for the future. It cannot do this without an in-depth examination of both the physical and mental health consequences of the pandemic.  It must urgently reconsider its position.

 

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