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Thursday, 23 July 2020

Hundreds attend Covid-19 mental health community event

Hundreds attend Covid-19 mental health community event

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and our local stakeholders hosted the ‘Covid-19: Preventing a Mental Health Crisis Summit’ to address how we can work together to protect our communities’ mental health as result of Covid-19.

The Summit, which was held entirely online on 20 July, addressed the wider impact on our communities’ mental wellbeing as the country continues to tackle the challenges of Covid-19. Together with our partners the South West London Health and Care Partnership and a number of vital community groups, we have set out a 12-month targeted programme of prevention which aims to tackle the impact Covid-19 may have on the mental wellbeing of our communities. We are determined to work together with our stakeholders to take positive action.

Ann Beasley, Chair of South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust said: "Collaboration is key to building the way forward. Thank you to all of you who attended the summit and shared your questions, comments, stories and thoughts about our next steps. We look forward to working closely with our local authorities and partner organisations."

Millie Banerjee CBE, Chair of the South West London Integrated Care System said: “I am delighted to have been a part of this collaborative event, and we must now make sure that we continue to work together to protect the mental wellbeing of our community.”

The innovative event was opened by Ann Beasley and Millie Banerjee before members of our communities described some of the ways Covid-19 has affected them. Local health and care leaders addressed the national issues and the role of local leadership, and how we can work together to tackle the impact of Covid-19. The most powerful part of the event was hearing directly from those with lived experience.

More than 300 registered attendees joined expert panels which included people with lived experiences, clinicians; commissioners; patients; young people from local schools; plus colleagues from Local Authorities, education and voluntary sectors. These four sessions focused on the impact of Covid-19.

Topics for discussion and questions and answers included: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities; children and young people; community resilience and the economy. These issues were described and explored by ‘experts by experience’ and local healthcare care leaders.

Five actions to be taken forward from the Summit

  • To create a mental health prevention taskforce which will have representatives from across organisations and boroughs, including experts by experience, that will oversee a prevention programme of work
  • To develop a programme of mental health community capacity building across south London, which will work with schools, faith and community groups to stay well, also building further upon the work of the Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project (EMHIP) to address issues of race equality and oversee the impact of Covid-19 on BAME Communities
  • To develop and promote free Covid-19 digital mental wellbeing courses for all residents across south west London through the Recovery College​, ensuring they are culturally appropriate and accessible
  • To work together on tracking the levels of psychological distress and their impact on our communities as a result of Covid-19
  • To host a follow-up mental health summit in the Autumn to report back on progress and further challenges as a result of Covid-19.

Using the priorities discussed with our partners, and following further engagement with local communities, we will publish our shared action plan in full.

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