COVID-19 and the VCSE Mental Health Sector, is a live briefing document based on the experiences of our members and outlines the impact of the pandemic on their services and the people that they work with and for. Our conversations with members have enabled us to gather live intelligence and information on the challenges that are being faced by provider organisations, which we have categorised into 9 key priority areas that require urgent attention and a response from Government.
Our conversations with members have enabled us to gather live intelligence and information on the impact of COVID-19 on their services and the people that they work with and for. The 9 key priority areas to note are:
1. Rising service demands
3. Loss of access to care coordinators
4. Infection control
5. Commissioning and collaboration with statutory services
6. Advocacy services
7. Adapting service delivery
8. Changes to legislation
9. Sustainability of the VCSE sector
The suggestions and recommendations outlined are necessary and urgent for the VCSE mental health sector to be effective and sustainable, and remain in a position to support people with mental health needs, the local communities, and the NHS during and after the pandemic.
Although services are stretched and struggling with both pre-existing and COVID-19 related workforce constraints and reductions, our members are committed to supporting their service users during this time, especially as they have seen an unprecedented rise in the need for some services as a result of the pandemic and consequent lockdown. Across our membership, and indeed the UK, voluntary and community organisations are already taking action and working with their NHS and local government partners in response to the pressing needs of the communities they serve and come from. The VCSE sector has continued to demonstrate that it will do whatever it can to provide support and it is evident that organisations from the largest to the smallest are collaborating to continue to provide services as best they can and respond to the needs and operating challenges presented by the crisis.
We must also emphasise the importance of recognising the VCSE organisations for the work they are doing, often with no statutory funding and/or relying on limited reserves, and urge the Government to prioritise and have a greater focus on VCSE mental health services.
We will continue to produce further versions on the continuing impact of the pandemic on the VCSE mental health provider sector as we gather more intelligence from our membership and beyond.