Coronavirus (COVID-19): mental health - transition and recovery plan

This plan outlines our response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. It addresses the challenges that the pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on the population’s mental health.

Building on Our Covid-19 Response

As the previous sections have shown, Covid-19 has created many challenges. But we can also recognise, and build on, the innovations and new service designs that have emerged in response to the pandemic. By doing so, we can support services as they meet anticipated and existing demand.

This will require a continued focus on early intervention, prevention, easier access, improvement and quality, and will involve partners and services across the whole health and social care integration landscape. The involvement of service users, and of the mental health workforce will be critically important.

Some of the key achievements during the pandemic, and which we want to build on through the actions outlined in this plan, include:

  • The Clear Your Head campaign, which has provided practical advice on how to stay active, keep connected with friends and family, and create healthy routines to help get through the crisis. Those who need extra support are directed to NHS Inform, and to helplines operated by NHS 24, Breathing Space, SAMH and Samaritans.
  • The expansion of the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub so that it is available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The establishment of Mental Health Assessment Centres. These Centres provide the assessment of unscheduled mental health needs for anyone presenting in mental health crisis or distress, in a separate location to emergency departments. The establishment of these Centres has allowed quicker access to specialist services for those that need them, and access to other interventions such as Distress Brief Intervention where appropriate. This has had a positive impact for people presenting with mental health needs, ensuring they receive the right support at the right time while also alleviating pressure on Emergency Departments.
  • The expansion of digital services. As with all health services, mental health services had to adapt quickly to delivering support and care in different ways. Many NHS Health Boards have moved parts of their services online, and have provided less urgent care digitally using Near-Me. We will further build on this success with the roll-out of Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which will support a minimum of a further 10,000 people.
  • The roll out of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme on a national basis. DBI gives people over 16 who present in emotional distress the opportunity to be referred for further dedicated support.



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