Since the effects of the coronavirus pandemic began to take effect, 2.3 million people have received talking therapy via the NHS. This figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, with various studies showing that over 50% of people have experienced symptoms of mental ill health, including stress, anxiety, low mood or depression in the last year. The majority of these have not sought professional help – which means that huge numbers of people need and could benefit from accessing professional help and support.
Mental Ill health has a huge impact on a person’s quality of life, their relationships and family. The NHS is encouraging anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, or other common mental health concerns to consider how talking therapies might be able to help them.
NHS mental health talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts and can be accessed by self-referral or through your GP practice.
There are many potential barriers to people seeking professional support – including being reluctant to admit to needing help, finding it difficult to talk about mental health issues, having a lack of support to seek help, stigma and discrimination, negative perceptions about the help that is available and difficulty accessing services
Backed by some of the UK’s biggest music artists, the NHS Help! Campaign- part of the NHS long term plan to tackle the nation’s mental health, aims to break down some of those barriers and encourage people struggling with their mental health to seek support.
‘Help!’, a huge hit for the Beatles, was written in 1964 by John Lennon and was credited by him as being one of his most honest and genuine songs. The lyric ‘Help me if you can I’m feeling down’, is especially apt and might get people thinking about their mental wellbeing.
Apple Corps and Sony Music have donated the lyrics and melody of the song to the campaign, which is also supported by top names from the UK music industry including Craig David, Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula, Ella Henderson and Max George, in a campaign launch featuring a spoken version of the song – encouraging more people to seek ‘Help!’.
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said:
“The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s mental health, and we know January can be a particularly tough month for many.
Over a million people already use NHS talking therapies every year, but we know we can help millions more just by telling them it’s there for them and that is exactly what this campaign is all about.
If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or are feeling low, it’s important you know you are not alone and that it is okay to get help. No one should suffer in silence.
NHS staff have pulled out all the stops throughout the pandemic to keep mental health care services open, and it’s fantastic to see some of the biggest names in music back our campaign and encourage people to get the support they need”.
Through the NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS is investing a further £2.3 billion a year in its community mental health services – with the aim to improve access to services such as adult talking therapies.
The aim is that the plan will deliver the fastest expansion in mental health services in the NHS’s history, so that more people before than ever can access support, in the form of talking therapies for common mental health disorders. There will be improved support for children and young people,
The Long Term Plan will also improve the support provided to those with severe mental illnesses, and will ensure that mothers experiencing severe mental health issues, and their partners, get the treatment and care they need
To support people who are experiencing the mental health impact of the pandemic, the NHS is working hard to provide support quicker. All areas of Great Britain now have a 24/7 mental health helpline to help people in mental health crisis get urgent care.
Statistics already also show that access to NHS adult talking therapies is getting better, with more than 90% of patients starting treatment within six weeks of being referred.
Mental health support in schools is also a top priority, with the NHS delivering more support for children and young people than ever before. There are around 200 teams now in place for pupils at over 3,000 schools – and nearly 630,000 children with mental health issues have received support in the last year.
With so many people needing help, there is an enormous need for the support being promoted by the NHS ‘Help’ campaign, and being provided under the NHS Long Term Plan. It is vital that those needing help are aware of what is available to them, and how to access it.
If you, or someone you love, need help with your mental health- support can be accessed- for free, here:
Mental Health in Business