New online and telephone mental health services supporting adults and young people during the coronavirus outbreak have been approved by Gloucestershire County Council.
The Covid-19 pandemic could potentially lead to increased anxiety about health, job security and finances, the authority said.
The county council is introducing new mental health services which are easy for people to access without necessarily needing a referral from a health professional.
Among the services are an anonymous helpline for children and young people aged between nine and 21, as well as online counselling and mental health training.
The services will be rolled out from this week to June and will be funded by the county council.
They include access to trained online counsellors for adults and young people. ‘Qwell’ for adults and ‘Kooth’ for young people aged 11 to 18 will include self-care resources and access to trained online counsellors, and will be open to anyone experiencing issues with their emotional wellbeing, such as stress or anxiety;
An anonymous helpline for children and young people aged 9 to 21 who are struggling with mild or temporary emotional wellbeing and mental health issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic;
Funded counselling sessions for adults whose mental health has been more severely affected by Covid-19, for example, by worsening existing mental health issues or because of a bereavement, and who wouldn’t normally be able to access counselling and pay for it themselves;
Online mental health training and Psychological First Aid training for first responders and community volunteers to help them support people in the community who may be struggling with their mental health. The service will also run a pilot of volunteer emotional support to look after the wellbeing of the volunteer workforce during the pandemic.
Councillor Tim Harman, cabinet member for public health and communities on the county council, said: “This is a challenging time for everyone and it’s totally normal to feel anxious or worried.
“I would urge anyone who is concerned about their own mental health to reach out and get the support they need.
“If you are worried about someone close to you, it’s also important that you encourage them to seek help too.
“I hope that these new services, will go some way to providing the support and comfort people need at this time.”