Where do you turn to for help with your mental health during the pandemic?

  • A range of organisations offering support in Manchester
  • Mayor's office at centre of moves to help with anxiety and depression
  • Children and adults urged to get help and suppport

As the need for mental health services continues to rise during lockdown, digital access has become essential for those with mental illness.

Manchester College has become one of many institutions in Greater Manchester to offer free online counselling resource Kooth to young people.

Kooth is a counselling and emotional well-being service aimed at people aged 11 and 18. The service offers a live chat resource, self-help pages, a magazine written by users for users, and chat forums. It is easily accessible online through a non-referral website.

Research by XenZone, the mental health service offering support to children, adults and businesses, shows a sharp increase in mental illness related to covid-19.

Being in lockdown has meant lots of children and adults are in a position they have never been in before. For people with a mental illness a pandemic can be very scary and creating new strategies to cope can be difficult without the support they usually receive.

Mental health covid-19
Data source: Kooth

This does not only affect people with pre-existing conditions. Lockdown has caused increased anxiety manifesting in a range of other symptoms, which has meant a sharp increase in demand for mental health services at a time when seeing a GP is not an option.

At the start of April Andy Burnham announced an agreement in response to the rise in demand to try and minimise the need for GP appointments. This includes a bereavement service providing callers with the opportunity to talk to someone. Text service SHOUT offers a 24/7 helpline – simply texting your area of Manchester e.g. ‘GMManchester’ to 85258.

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership created a mental health website listing mental health services in Greater Manchester. It includes free online resources which children and adults can access.

There are also covid-19 specific resources created by a number of mental health charities including Mind.

The development of services on social media, through local impact studies by XenZone and the Greater Manchester council, has meant the reach of these services is growing. Universities, schools and colleges can contact XenZone to provide free access to their services for all students.

More information on access to Greater Manchester mental health services during lockdown is available through a range of services.