Mental health services introduced across Manchester in response to Covid-19

A city-region response for mental health services across Greater Manchester has been announced due to added pressures caused by coronavirus.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership, Sir Richard Leese announced the agreement to complement work already happening at a local level.

GMCA say the outbreak has created additional pressure on staff working in mental health services who are trying to support people already accessing services to also dealing with new cases, caused by loneliness and isolation.

As a result, mobile and online services are being launched for children and adults across Greater Manchester to minimise the need for people to attend GP surgeries or hospital.

Credit: PA

New services include SHOUT, a confidential 24-hour text service for people aged 16 and above who are struggling with a range of issues, including: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying or relationship issues. The service is overseen by clinical supervisors and users will receive support from trained crisis volunteers.

Other services include:

  • ChatHealth – a secure and confidential text messaging service for children and young people which will launch soon.

  • Kooth – an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people. Currently limited to Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Trafford and Wigan and will be extended to Bury, Salford, Stockport and Tameside by May 2020.

  • BlueIce – an evidence-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. This app has launched and is available from a clinician working in CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services).

  • SilverCloud – an online therapy programme for people aged 16+ proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression which launches Tue 7 April.

Credit: PA

There will also be a bereavement service set-up, which GMCA say will be available at the end of month to provide callers with an opportunity to talk about their loss.

They add that NHS staff will be supported through the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub, set up in response to the Manchester Arena Attack in 2017, which will provide additional support to those who are supporting keyworkers.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “I’m conscious that lots of people need support to look after their mental health and as we enter weeks four, five, six and beyond of this coronavirus crisis and the limitations placed on our day-to-day lives, it’s going to become even more difficult for some people.

“We need to act together to combat social isolation and find ways for people to connect or interact. I would encourage everyone to keep in touch with their friends, families and neighbours via phone or video calls and to get in touch with any of the support services available."

The new services can be accessed by people who are already experiencing mental health issues as well as people who may be struggling with the new social distancing and self-isolation restrictions.

Sir Richard Leese, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “Our overarching priority is to support mental health services to run as effectively as possible, ensuring that those seeking and needing mental health support and treatment receive this care. All mental health providers in Greater Manchester are trying to ensure as much continuity of care as possible."

The SHOUT text service can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Text GMBury to 85258

  • Text GMBolton to 85258

  • Text GMManchester to 85258

  • Text GMOldham to 85258

  • Text GMRochdale to 85258

  • Text GMSalford to 85258

  • Text GMStockport to 85258

  • Text GMTandG to 85258 (this for Tameside and Glossop)

  • Text GMTrafford to 85258

  • Text GMWigan to 85258

Further information is also available here.