COVID-19 resources

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Mental capacity during COVID-19: advice for social care

Social Care Institute for Excellence

Coronavirus (COVID-19) quick guides and webinars about the Mental Capacity Act (MCA).

Last updated on hub: 22 July 2020

Mental Health Action Plan

Northern Ireland. Department of Health

This Mental Health Action Plan aims to improve people’s experience of mental health services in Northern Ireland and ensure the health and social care system work better to be able to improve people’s experience. The actions in this plan fall into three broad categories: immediate service developments, longer term strategic objectives and preparatory work for future strategic decisions. The first category aims to provide fixes to immediate problems and immediate service developments where there has been an identified immediate need. This includes, for example, consideration of alternative methods of working for the mental health workforce to respond to the immediate, and significant, workforce pressures. The longer-term strategic objectives aim to fulfil future strategic needs and includes, for example, a workforce review to consider how the mental health workforce should be structured. The third category relates to preparatory work for future strategic directions. This includes, for example, development of an action plan for the use of technology and creating better governance structures. The document also contains a COVID-19 Mental Health Response Plan as an annex, which outlines key areas of intervention during the pandemic to help and support the population as a whole.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Mental health and Covid-19: in our own words

Barnardo's UK

Explores children and young people’s experiences of lockdown and identifies what they will need to support their mental health and wellbeing coming out of this pandemic. The report draws on findings from an in-depth UK-wide survey of more than 100 children and young people supported by Barnardo’s and insights from nearly 150 children and young people, gathered through youth workers’ local networks. It examines the impact of COVID-19, mental health and inequalities, and what worked well during the lockdown, and explores the implications of the pandemic for children and young people in a number of settings and domains, including: spending time with family, keeping contact with friends, routine and structure, education and employment, sleep, exercise and diet, hobbies and leisure, and community-based services and support. The report identifies three priorities for UK decision makers: recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic and lockdown has had on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing; learn from what children and young people tell us works; and support children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing at the earliest possible stage. The report sets out a series of recommendations, calling for a greater involvement of children and young people in ‘recovery planning’ and provision of long term, sustainable funding for the redesign of local support for children, young people and families’ mental health and wellbeing.

Last updated on hub: 22 July 2020

Mental health and COVID-19: is the virus racist?

British Journal of Psychiatry

COVID-19 has changed our lives and it appears to be especially harmful for some groups more than others. Black and Asian ethnic minorities are at particular risk and have reported greater mortality and intensive care needs. Mental illnesses are more common among Black and ethnic minorities, as are crisis care pathways including compulsory admission. This editorial sets out what might underlie these two phenomena, explaining how societal structures and disadvantage generate and can escalate inequalities in crises.

Last updated on hub: 19 August 2020

Mental health and psychosocial considerations during COVID-19 outbreak

World Health Organization

Summarises key messages that can be used in communications to support the mental and psychosocial well-being of different groups during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It includes messages for health care workers, health care managers, care providers of children, older adults, people with underlying health conditions, and people in isolation.

Last updated on hub: 23 March 2020

Mental health and wellbeing amongst people with informal caring responsibilities across different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based propensity score matching analysis


Aims. Due to a prolonged period of national and regional lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase reliance on informal care and a consequent increase in care intensity for informal carers. In light of this, the current study compared the experiences of carers and non-carers on various mental health and wellbeing measures across 5 key time points during the pandemic. Methods. Data analysed were from the UCL COVID -19 Social Study. Our study focused on 5 time points in England: (i) the first national lockdown (March-April 2020; N=12,053); (ii) the beginning of lockdown rules easing (May 2020; N=24,374); (iii) further easing (July 2020; N=21,395); (iv) new COVID-19 restrictions (September 2020; N=4,792); and (v) the three-tier system restrictions (October 2020; N=4,526). This study considered 5 mental health and wellbeing measures- depression, anxiety, loneliness, life satisfaction and sense of worthwhile. Propensity score matching were applied for the analyses. Results. This study found that informal carers experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety than non-carers across all time points. During the first national lockdown, carers also experienced a higher sense of life being worthwhile. No association was found between informal caring responsibilities and levels of loneliness and life satisfaction. Conclusion. Given that carers are an essential national health care support, especially during a pandemic, it is crucial to integrate carers' needs into healthcare planning and delivery. These results highlight there is a pressing need to provide adequate and targeted mental health support for carers during and following this pandemic. [Note: This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.]

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Mental health considerations during COVID-19 outbreak

World Health Organization

Advice from the World Health Organisation on the considerations people should take to combat stress and support their mental and psychological well-being during coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The advice covers considerations for the general population, health professionals and care workers, team leaders and managers, those caring for children or older people, and for people living in self-isolation.

Last updated on hub: 26 March 2020

Mental health in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic: cross-sectional analyses from a community cohort study

BMJ Open

Objectives Previous pandemics have resulted in significant consequences for mental health. Here, we report the mental health sequelae of the COVID-19 pandemic in a UK cohort and examine modifiable and non-modifiable explanatory factors associated with mental health outcomes. We focus on the first wave of data collection, which examined short-term consequences for mental health, as reported during the first 4–6 weeks of social distancing measures being introduced. Design Cross-sectional online survey. Setting Community cohort study. Participants N=3097 adults aged ≥18 years were recruited through a mainstream and social media campaign between 3 April 2020 and 30 April 2020. The cohort was predominantly female (n=2618); mean age 44 years; 10% (n=296) from minority ethnic groups; 50% (n=1559) described themselves as key workers and 20% (n=649) identified as having clinical risk factors putting them at increased risk of COVID-19. Main outcome measures Depression, anxiety and stress scores. Results Mean scores for depression (Embedded Image =7.69, SD=6.0), stress (Embedded Image =6.48, SD=3.3) and anxiety (Embedded Image = 6.48, SD=3.3) significantly exceeded population norms (all p<0.0001). Analysis of non-modifiable factors hypothesised to be associated with mental health outcomes indicated that being younger, female and in a recognised COVID-19 risk group were associated with increased stress, anxiety and depression, with the final multivariable models accounting for 7%–14% of variance. When adding modifiable factors, significant independent effects emerged for positive mood, perceived loneliness and worry about getting COVID-19 for all outcomes, with the final multivariable models accounting for 54%–57% of total variance. Conclusions Increased psychological morbidity was evident in this UK sample and found to be more common in younger people, women and in individuals who identified as being in recognised COVID-19 risk groups. Public health and mental health interventions able to ameliorate perceptions of risk of COVID-19, worry about COVID-19 loneliness and boost positive mood may be effective.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

Mental health of children and young people in England, 2020: wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey

NHS Digital

This report looks at the mental health of children and young people in England in July 2020, and changes since 2017. Experiences of family life, education and services, and worries and anxieties during the coronavirus pandemic are also examined. The findings draw on a sample of 3,570 children and young people interviewed face to face in 2017 and followed up online in July 2020, now aged between 5 and 22 years. Key findings include: rates of probable mental disorders have increased since 2017 in 2020, one in six (16.0%) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine (10.8%) in 2017; the likelihood of a probable mental disorder increased with age – 27.2% of young women and 13.3% of young men were identified as having a probable mental disorder; among 11 to 16 year old girls, 63.8% with a probable mental disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in the household, compared with 46.8% of those unlikely to have a mental disorder; about six in ten (62.6%) children aged 5 to 16 years with a probable mental disorder had regular support from their school or college, compared with 76.4% of children unlikely to have a mental disorder; children aged 5 to 16 years with a probable mental disorder were more than twice as likely to live in a household that had fallen behind with payments; children and young people with a probable mental disorder were more likely to say that lockdown had made their life worse.

Last updated on hub: 27 October 2020

Mental health policy in England

House of Commons Library

A briefing summarising key areas of mental health policy in England. Sections cover key mental health policy, including: the Coronavirus pandemic and mental health; reform of the Mental Health Act 1983; use of force in mental health settings; mental health crisis care; waiting time standards; and mental health policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. [Updates earlier versions]

Last updated on hub: 15 January 2020