The Mix joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to discuss the mental health response to COVID-19

Holly Turner (she/her)
Editorial Communications Manager
Image shows Chris Martin of The Mix talking to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with the CEOs of the UK's other leading mental health charities

The Mix’s CEO, Chris Martin, joined a roundtable call on mental health with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

On Wednesday 8th April, CEO of The Mix, Chris Martin, joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other leading UK mental health charities for a roundtable call, to discuss the sector’s response to COVID-19. Their Royal Highnesses have supported Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform, by voicing a new film, which signposts to NHS expert tips and advice around mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after new data shows over 4 in 5 (85.2%) British people are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half (53.1%) saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half (46.9%) reporting high levels of anxiety.[1] With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and support others, to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.

The range of new resources on the Every Mind Matters platform, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, includes a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. To help get this vital message out there, The Duke and Duchess have narrated a new short film which is set to be broadcast across national TV channels from Monday 20th April.

Voicing the film, The Duke and Duchess said:

“All over the country people are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. It’s not always easy. We can feel frustrated, miss loved ones or get anxious. So now, more than ever, Every Mind Matters. There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time. Every Mind Matters can help get you started with your NHS online plan. Showing you simple steps to help deal with stress, boost your mood and feel on top of things. Search Every Mind Matters to get your action plan today. We’re in this together.”

During the roundtable call, their Royal Highnesses expressed their thanks to mental health workers for supporting those who are struggling, and discussed the sector’s view on the specific mental health support that is needed both now but also in the future to deal with the challenges sparked by the pandemic.

Those who joined the roundtable included:

  • Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind
  • Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM
  • Alison Baum, CEO of Best Beginnings
  • Dr Charles Winstanley, Chair of Contact Group
  • Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds
  • Chris Martin, CEO of The Mix
  • Graham Beech, CEO of Action on Addiction
  • Victoria Hornby, CEO of Mental Health Innovations
  • Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be
  • Peter Fonargy, CEO of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

Many of the charities reported an increase in the numbers of people of reaching out for information and seeking help for their own mental health, indicating that the importance of good mental health is now becoming a prominent issue in the public consciousness.

However, they also highlighted that there is growing demand for services, including a 40% rise for The Mix’s counselling provision and a 90% increase in the use of their community boards. The Mix have recently launched a new fundraising campaign to help meet the spike in demand from young people who are feeling isolated and anxious due to the impact of the health crisis.

Chris Martin, CEO of The Mix, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has been cataclysmic for young people’s wellbeing. We all have genuine concerns about those who are unwell, the capacity of the NHS and about our own livelihoods. But we need to wake up to the fact that, for many young people, coronavirus has resulted in the immediate withdrawal of the daily companionship of friends and support provided by schools, health services and youth clubs that is so vital to maintaining their mental health.

I believe services like The Mix are crucial at this time to effectively reconnect young people to the sources of support they have lost. I’m delighted The Mix were included in the roundtable with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to talk about the importance of addressing people’s mental health needs during the pandemic and I hope this collaboration will help us to address the huge challenges the sector faces at this time.”

During the call, participants discussed the mental health issues that are arising as a result of the pandemic and highlighted that many of the practical issues that people are facing can also be risk factors for mental health. They agreed that the sector must continue to look at ways to work together to ensure that people are equipped to support their family and friends during these difficult times, and to have conversations about their mental health both during and after the pandemic which they anticipate will have vast and complicated long-term consequences for mental health.

Speaking about the need for the sector to continue to work together, Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind said:

 “I think we’re all completely in agreement about the significant mental health need that’s coming up over the next few months. The only way that we’re going to tackle that is by working collaboratively and addressing those needs, thinking about the groups that are going to need particular support at particular times, but also thinking about how we can work together. The collaborative spirit across the sector is really positive at the moment but I think that there will be a need in the coming months to think about how we can come together to offer something that’s even greater than the sum of our parts.”

[1] ONS: Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain. 16 April 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/16april2020

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Published on 17-Apr-2020

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