Calls to mental health helplines in Manchester surge during second lockdown

Calls to mental health helplines in Manchester have almost doubled since lockdown restrictions were reimplemented in the area.

Residents in Oldham, Blackburn, and parts of Pendle were banned from mixing with other households and told to isolate at home on July 31st after a surge in cases.

Manchester recorded 47.3% cases per 100,000 people between 10-16th August and has one of the worst infection rates in the UK.

Calls to three dedicated crisis helplines created in response to the pandemic have dramatically increased over the last few months. 

The Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation’s helpline received 2,168 calls in July compared with 1,187 in April.

The data has prompted the leader of Manchester City Council and deputy mayor, Sir Richard Leese, to call for a more appropriate strategy in response to lockdown.

He urged the government to use measures that “brings into play mental health and other health risks including those caused by poverty and economic inactivity, and one that allows the economy to fully function”.

Twice as many adults in Britain are reporting symptoms of depression now compared with this time last year, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. 

Greater Manchester Police also concurred a 42% rise in ‘mental health demand’ since February, which is expected to rise further in response to the strict ‘semi-lockdown’.

Chief Superintendent Umer Khan said: “We are grateful to the majority of people within Greater Manchester who have followed guidelines to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, however, these restrictions have had an impact on many people’s mental health, both those with pre-existing conditions and those who have not struggled with their mental health before.

“Police officers are often the first point of contact for people going through a mental health crisis. Since February 2020 we have seen a 42% increase in mental health demand coming into GMP. It is important that these people have immediate access to the right help and support.

“GMP has worked with partners to train thousands of officers in how to deal with people with various mental health conditions and help direct individuals to the support they need.”

Related Articles