Anxiety UK and OCD-UK call for more support for people with mental health difficulties.
Anxiety charities are facing a huge surge in demand as the coronavirus lockdown continues.
Anxiety UK has more than doubled its helpline operating hours – from 40 to 82 per week – after a 364% increase in calls last week.
OCD-UK, meanwhile, has seen a 35% uptick in calls for support since the outbreak began.
Both charities say that restrictions on travel and social contact are having significant impacts on people with mental health issues such as anxiety and OCD, and that any further restrictions will heighten the problem.
They are now calling for a greater focus to be placed on mental health in the UK’s response to the pandemic.
As an example, the charities noted that those with mental health difficulties may not be classed as vulnerable, and therefore miss out on essential support while the crisis is ongoing.
The charities said they also shared a “real concern” that progress made over the last few years to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health is in danger of being eroded.
Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, said: “We know from both the volume and themes of the calls that our two organisations are receiving (including callers presenting in crisis), that the scale of the problem will only increase in the coming weeks if the appropriate crisis care and support is not readily available for those with anxiety disorders, who are not usually in touch with crisis mental health services but who now urgently need this support.”
Ashley Fulwood, CEO of OCD-UK added: “While we fully understand and support the restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19, many people with anxiety and OCD have had their usual coping strategies taken away.
“The longer the restrictions remain in place the bigger and more severe this problem will become.”
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