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Mental health leaders: "support of frontline workers must be a national priority"

Leaders from the UK's leading mental health organisations, including Place2Be, have penned an open letter thanking health, care, education and charity workers and volunteers for their service during the Covid-19 pandemic. The letter asks that supporting their mental health and wellbeing be made a "national priority".

Artwork stuck to a window - a drawing of a flower, a drawing that says 'frontline heroes' and another that says 'thank you'

The letter encourages that all organisations with staff working on the frontline are aware of and signpost towards Our Frontline, a free mental health support service for all health, care, emergency, education and key workers.

The full open letter and list of signatories can be read below:

Right across the UK throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, people have responded to the challenges with extraordinary determination, creativity and care.

As a group of Mental Health Leaders, we want staff working across health, care and education (both formal and informal) to know that we appreciate you and know how central your contributions are to sustaining the mental health of the nation. 

We are grateful for your courage, resilience and humanity in the face of ever-changing circumstances and relentlessly difficult choices. We also acknowledge the pressures on your mental and physical wellbeing. Supporting you must be a national priority over the coming months.

We have been heartened that leaders of organisations have prioritised your wellbeing and mental health, but this has not been a universal experience. It is vital that excellent support is available in all organisations, and that all staff know about the additional mental health support that is available through Our Frontline.

Our Frontline is for all health, care, emergency, education and key workers. It offers one to one support by call or text as well as resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. If you want to talk you can call 0800 069 6222 from 7am – 11pm if you are in England or 116 123 from anywhere else in the UK. You can text FRONTLINE to 85258 twenty-four hours a day. Find out more.

The COVID-19 vaccine provides us with hope, and we will prevail. But there is still a distance to travel and there will be more difficult days ahead. This is a heartfelt message of recognition and solidarity with you and your families. It is important to take the wellbeing of keyworkers seriously both now for a long time to come. We will work tirelessly to ensure your mental health is at the heart of the recovery.

Finally, we urge government, employers and society as a whole to make sure that those who are looking after us have the best possible support, a vital step we cannot afford to ignore. 

Julie Bentley CEO, Samaritans

Simon Blake CEO, Mental Health First Aid England

Tracey Bleakley CEO, Hospice UK

Brian Dow CEO, Mental Health UK

Sean Duggan CEO, Mental Health Network, The NHS Confederation

Paul Farmer CEO, Mind

Peter Fonagy CEO, The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Victoria Hornby CEO, Mental Health Innovations

Sarah Hughes CEO, Centre for Mental Health

Poppy Jaman CEO, City Mental Health Alliance

Adrian James President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Chris Martin CEO, The Mix

Paul Ojok CEO, Helplines Partnership

Catherine Roche CEO, Place2Be

Kathy Roberts CEO, Association of Mental Health Partnerships

Mark Rowland CEO, Mental Health Foundation

Emma Thomas CEO, Young Minds

Rosie Tressler CEO Student Minds

Mark Winstanley CEO, Rethink Mental Illness

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