5. Mental health support
Consistent with lockdown and previous Phases, organisations consistently reported a significant impact on adults' and children's mental health resulting from the Coronavirus restrictions and the impact of domestic abuse or other forms of VAWG.
Many organisations reported that the ongoing restrictions and clients' recognition that restrictions were likely to remain for a long-term period had further affected victims' and children's mental ill health. A number of organisations reported that the perception and feelings around the Coronavirus crisis had moved from one of crisis to a "slow grind" where "everything is under strain" and families were feeling overwhelmed.
A national organisation reported support calls were taking an increased length of time due to increased feelings of isolation and the mental health impact of increased restrictions, and communicated there was a "noticeably higher level of emotional intensity in first contact calls, and an equivalent increase in length of continuing support calls as people disclose increased levels of anxiety, fear, stress, depression, and loneliness." A number of specialist domestic abuse organisations reported that, in this context, their clients were more quickly triggered by perpetrators' behaviour or other sources of stress and had lower levels of resilience because anxiety levels were already high. Another organisation reported the return to school was an additional source of stress for some families, particularly for children whose anxiety was related to school attendance and where this source of stress had been absent for several months.