Half a million more may experience mental ill health as a result of COVID-19

At least half a million more people in the UK may experience mental ill health as a result of COVID-19, according to an analysis published by the Centre for Mental Health.

Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health: Forecasting needs and risks in the UK is the first assessment by the Centre for Mental Health of the likely impacts of the virus. 

It uses evidence from previous international epidemics and from the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis to estimate what effect COVID-19 will have on mental health at population level.

If a recession following the pandemic is similar to the 2008 slump, about half a million more people will experience a mental health difficulty over the next year, according to an estimate by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. 

But if there is a second wave and the economy is damaged further, the effects on mental health will be greater still, and last much longer.

The briefing also looks at specific groups of people whose mental health will be put at risk as a result of the virus and the lockdown. 

Centre for Mental Health

Social connection in the COVID-19 crisis

An initial report from the COVID-19 Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration has been published.

Social connection in the COVID-19 crisis discusses key findings from several key areas, including who is at risk of social isolation, digital exclusion and community and social relations.

It says the COVID-19 crisis has exposed a huge digital divide. 

Short-term recommendations for tackling this include digital champion schemes.

However, in the long-term, the report says it is essential that, there is a commitment from the Government, educational institutions, employers and civil society to reduce digital exclusion. 

The report also calls on social media companies to remove content supporting conspiracy theories.

British Future

Long term conditions and leaving lockdown

A National Voices webinar on Friday 5 June will discuss long term conditions and leaving lockdown.

The event, which is open for registration now, is part of a series of webinars called National Voices Covid Conversations focusing on health inequalities and COVID-19.

Held from 11am to midday it is an opportunity to discuss issues around leaving lockdown and will bring together charities to agree upon shared messaging priorities.

Click on the link below to register.

National Voices

Spotlight on...the new normal

A new briefing document from NHS Providers sets out the complexities trusts will face in reintroducing more services safely alongside the continuing risk presented by COVID-19.

It considers five key questions, including what trusts will have to deliver in the next phase of the NHS response to coronavirus and the constraints trusts face when providing non-COVID care.

One of the areas highlighted as needed from government and NHS England is more national-level public communications that it is safe to use all NHS services.

The document raises concerns that people not seeking help due to concerns about catching the virus or overburdening services could lead to a delay in diagnosis and deterioration in people’s overall health. 

NHS Providers

Coronavirus advice for social care

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has updated its coronavirus hub with the latest social care guidance.

The online resource brings together government guidance, SCIE's webinars and quick guides.

It also includes articles where expertise and experiences from those working in social care are shared.


How social care can emerge from the COVID-19 crisis

In this article, Jonathan Papworth discusses how he sees an opportunity to build a new technology-enabled delivery model when the care sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He argues technology is the only way to create a more person-centred adult social care system.

He says  it is vital to begin the process of digitising residents’ care interactions and care planning, and work to create an integrated system for digital reporting.

Digital Health

Emergency government grants scheme now open

Government emergency support funding for charities distributed via the National Lottery Community Fund is now open to applications.

The scheme is prioritising funding for activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19.

This includes organisations:

  • Supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19
  • Supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of COVID-19
  • Connecting communities and supporting communities to work together to respond to COVID-19

The fund will also help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties faced as a result of the pandemic.

There are three types of grant available: from £300-£10,000, from £10,000-£100,000 and for organisations working in partnership, from £10,000 to £100,000.

Community Fund

Corporation Pop awarded grant to enhance children's cancer app

Corporation Pop has won funding from Innovate UK to further develop the  Xploro app.

Xploro helps children being treated for cancer understand what is happening to them.

The grant, totalling £50,000, allows the agency to develop new functionality.

This will give children the opportunity to communicate their treatment experience and outcomes to healthcare professionals through games in the app.

A first-of-its kind content management system lets healthcare professionals include questions for their patients in the app. 

They will be specific to the child, at a frequency appropriate to them, and will mean clinicians can easily collect a wide range of Patient Reported Outcome and Experience Measures.

Children will be rewarded for answering questions by unlocking digital assets within the Xploro app.

They will then use these to create and decorate a 3D virtual home for their avatar.

Xploro Health

New patient priorities website: sarcoidosis

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) has launched a  new patient priorities website with information and resources for people with sarcoidosis, their family members and caregivers. 

The resource was developed by the ELF sarcoidosis patient advisory group and experts from around the world.

Features include Patient Compass – an interactive tool to guide people through their sarcoidosis – information on treatment options and the opportunity for patients to share their own journey.

The website also includes a 'support in your language' tool allowing users to find patient organisations around the world where they can get information and support in their own language.

European Lung Foundation

Study: Understanding patient experience of unplanned hospital readmission

The importance of effective communication has been highlighted in a study examining the patient experience of early unplanned hospital readmission following acute care discharge.

Authors aimed to understand two main points from a patient and carer perspective:

  • What features of the discharge process could be improved to avoid early unplanned hospital readmission (within 72 hours of acute care discharge)
  • What elements of discharge planning could have enhanced the discharge experience

Interviews found there was considerable variation in patient and carer experience.

Features of the discharge process that could be improved to potentially avoid early unplanned hospital readmission were better communication, optimal clinical care including ensuring readiness for discharge and shared decision-making regarding discharge timing and goals on returning home.

The discharge experience could have been enhanced by improved communication between patients, carers and the healthcare team.

BMJ Open

Study: Digital care for chronic musculoskeletal pain

A 10,000-participant longitudinal cohort study has supported the efficacy and scalability of a digital care programme (DCP) for chronic low back and knee pain in a large, diverse, real-world population.

Subjects participated in a 12-week multi-modal DCP incorporating education, sensor-guided exercise therapy and behavioural health support with one-on-one remote health coaching. 

The primary outcome was pain measured by the visual analogue scale (VAS). 

Secondary measures included engagement levels, programme completion, programme satisfaction, condition-specific pain measures, depression, anxiety, and work productivity.

Participants experienced a 68.45% average improvement in VAS pain between baseline intake and 12 weeks.

Furthermore, the number of exercise therapy sessions and coaching interactions were both positively associated with improvement in pain.

Participants demonstrated high completion and engagement rates and a significant positive relationship between engagement and pain reduction was identified.


HSJ Awards 2020 entry guide

An entry guide for the HSJ Awards 2020 is now available to download.

The application for this year's awards has been extended to June 19 in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Click on the link below to download the guide.

HSJ Awards