The government should draw up a Covid-19 mental health recovery plan and publish a green paper on wellbeing, a new paper has argued.
The report by the Mental Health Foundation says that mental health effects are falling unequally across society, with people in some social groups bearing much more of the mental health burden than others.
Research it carried out in May shows that a higher proportion of single parents (24%), 18-24 year olds (21%), unemployed (21%), and people with long-term health conditions (20%) report having had suicidal thoughts or feelings in the past two weeks, compared to the overall population (10%).
MHF says these are important risks for the UK government to consider as the recovery from the pandemic begins and says it must adopt a cross-governmental approach to mental health recovery.
“Actions taken across government departments can help people to protect and recover their mental wellbeing during and after the pandemic and can prevent more severe mental health problems from taking hold as a consequence of the crisis," it states.
“While there is no vaccine for mental distress, much can be done to prevent mental health problems; well-evidenced solutions are at hand,” it continues.
On wellbeing, the report says the government should look to New Zealand, and experience from elsewhere in the UK to draw up a wellbeing economy green paper. It says that Scotland’s National Performance Framework, which sets out a vision for national wellbeing across a range of economic, social and environmental factors, and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 in Wales, are inspiring examples to follow.
The Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic study is a long-term project run in collaboration with the universities of Cambridge, Swansea, Strathclyde and Queen’s University Belfast. Read the report.
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