Prior to the pandemic being declared I was taking a little comfort in that all parties including that of the government were beginning to understand that there was a mental health crises within the nation that impacted on young and old alike and that action was required.

I have listened and read with care the various government briefings on the COVID 19 crisis including reading in full the latest 50-page guidance. I am somewhat dismayed at the lack of attention being given within it to the issue of mental health.

Apart from all those vulnerable people suffering with mental health issues prior to the pandemic we are without doubt going to witness growing needs arising from the impact of COVID.

The extended family are often the first called upon by those who suffer. No guidance is given to that group of people which includes, Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Brothers, Sisters. Any or all of whom can be called upon to help. For example, what should they do, if they happen not to be in the same household and are needed?

The guidance and briefings have been silent on what assistance is being given, and importantly will continue to be forthcoming to the mental health charities such as Dorset Mind who are doing sterling work in exceptional circumstances.

There are no bandages or sticking plasters that one can apply when dealing with mental health issues.

Those who suffer and those who care for them should not be overlooked in the guidance, briefings, or in the distribution of resources. Mental health should not be swept under the carpet and forgotten.

My fear is that the crisis that the nation faced in the provision of mental health services prior to the COVID outbreak is going to be exacerbated.

Hon Alderman Revd. Brian Ellis