Thousands of people across Manchester have accessed online mental health support services since the start of lockdown.
The new services were developed by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) in April to innovatively tackle the challenges caused by the pandemic. Coronavirus has caused an increase in mental health issues across the country and has prevented those affected from accessing support in per-son.
Dr Sandeep Ranote, Medical Executive Lead for Mental Health of the GMHSCP, said: “Radically improving the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Greater Manchester has always been one of our top priorities.
“We want to see mental health put on an equal footing with physical health.”
The GMHSCP launched three new services at the start of lockdown: Kooth, SilverCloud and SHOUT.
Kooth, an online counselling and well-being platform aimed at young people, was accessed by 4,300 children in the first three months of operation.
One anonymous user of Kooth said: “I feel so much more positive about my-self now. I feel like a different person.
“I feel supported and valued and as a result I’m making changes in my life.”
An online therapy programme, Silver-Cloud, which is aimed at adults was used by 1,013 people since April.
The healthcare body also launched SHOUT, a text messaging service which allows people with mental health issues to access round-the-clock support from trained crisis volunteers.
Health Innovation Manchester found people across Manchester were reporting mental health issues caused by isolation, loneliness, and personal circumstances.
The Office for National Statistics(ONS) in June reported that the number of adults experiencing depression doubled since before the pandemic.
Dr Ranote said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 dramatically impacted many people’s mental health, creating extra stress and anxiety for both those with pre-existing issues and those struggling to cope during the pandemic.”
The ONS found 19.2% of adults in the UK were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is made up of local NHS organisations, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, as well as emergency services, the vol-untary sector, Healthwatch and others.
Find out more information about free services by visiting hub.gmhsc.org.uk/mental-health/digital-support/