Suffolk MP, Dr Dan Poulter, chairs evidence session for All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, Dr Dan Poulter MP has today chaired an important evidence session of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus.

The seventh public spoken evidence hearing held this morning focused specifically on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on mental health.  Witnesses giving evidence included representatives from the charities Mind, the Centre for Mental Health, Beat, and the Mental Health Foundation, as well as academic practitioners and researchers including Professor of Behavioural Science and Health at University College London, Dr Daisy Fancourt and Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Centre for Global Mental Health at Kings College London.

The APPG evidence session on 9th September heard of the profound impact that the pandemic can have on the mental health of front-line workers.  ONS data shows that almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in June 2020;  this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).  Moreover, adults who were aged 16 to 39 years old, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense, or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.

The APPG comprises a number of cross-party MPs and Dr Poulter is Vice Chair.  It has been established with the aim of ensuring that lessons are learned from the UK’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, so that the UK’s response and preparedness may be improved in future.  The Group is calling for evidence to be submitted to inform its recommendations to Government and submissions of particular interest may be followed up with an invitation to submit oral evidence.

Commenting, Dr Dan Poulter MP, said: ““During this morning’s evidence session, it is right that we focus on the hidden mental health impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the escalating misuse of alcohol.  A number of patients with long term mental health problems have faced difficulties in accessing some aspects of their routine mental healthcare and it is essential that those patients are properly supported.

As we can see from the latest statistics, some one in five adults reportedly experienced some form of depression in June 2020, directly attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.  Compared to the period immediately before the pandemic, this equates to a 100% increase, so it is vital that mental health support is readily available to those in need.”

To find out more or to submit evidence, please visit the website here and the evidence session can be view here.