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Industry donates £7m to tackle mental health crisis 

The insurance and long term savings has made a donation of £7m to mental health charities Rethink and Mind to help provide 3.5m people with mental health support during and post the pandemic.

The money will go towards community-based mental health care and support and will be administered by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind. 

The money has been raised by the  industry’s Covid-19 Support Fund set up by providers with ABI backing.

The UK insurance and long-term savings industry launched the Covid-19 Support Fund to help support people hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The fund has raised £104m, with £83.9m pledged in voluntary contributions from firms within the sector and £20m provided by government-matched funding. 

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Research from Rethink Mental Illness found that 79% of people living with mental illness said their health had deteriorated due to the pandemic. 

A survey by Mind of 16,000 people showed that over half of adults and two thirds of young people said their mental health had declined during the pandemic with many developing problems for the first time. One in five who tried to access support were unable to do so. 

Findings by the Covid-19 Support Fund also revealed that, since March 2020, mental health support has been among the most common types of charity services that people have accessed.

Colm Holmes, chair of the Covid-19 Support Fund Governance Committee and gobal CEO, general insurance, Aviva, said: “We know that for many people throughout the UK, the pandemic has had a severe and lasting impact on their mental health. 

“The donation from the Covid-19 Support Fund will help millions of people, expand vital services and create a legacy framework for community-based mental health services. We’re indebted to Rethink Mental Illness and Mind for their work and to our donors across the insurance and long-term savings industry to enable this funding.”

Rethink Mental Illness plans to build on a blueprint it has created to transform community mental health care by establishing four local alliances benefitting more than 3.5m people. The alliances will bring together people using services, health and care providers and a broad range of other organisations to create communities that care about mental health. 

“They will focus on local needs and strengths and mobilise the support people need for their wellbeing and recovery such as help with finding or keeping a home, building a social network or finding employment. Learnings will be shared across the health and social care system to support wider transformation.”

Mind’s research identified three key groups where mental health support is urgently needed: children and young people, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and people experiencing poverty. 

The funds donated by the Covid-19 Support Fund will help the charity to reach those most in need by expanding existing national services such as its Infoline, information resources, and their online peer support platform, Side by Side. In addition, new and existing Mind advice and support services will be developed across England and Wales.

The Covid-19 Support Fund is to donate £3.15m to Rethink Mental Illness and £3.6m to Mind. The funding extends to Mind’s strategic partners SAMH in Scotland and Inspire in Northern Ireland. 

Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “We are hugely grateful for this unprecedented and generous donation from the Covid-19 Support Fund which will support our work to help transform community mental health care across four local alliances.”

“This will leave a lasting legacy, providing vital mental health support as the country looks to recover from the pandemic and creating a blueprint of best practise for the future.” 

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen more people coming to Mind for support – whether that’s through our website, Infoline, or the services run by our network of local Minds. This generous donation will help us expand our most relied upon national services, like our Infoline, our online peer support platform and our trusted information resources, as well as deliver new services locally.”

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