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UK charities launch Mental Health Sustainability Fund as country faces mental health crisis because of COVID-19

A coalition of mental health charities and social enterprises are appealing to the UK’s largest businesses for financial and volunteering support to ensure that community charities can continue to deliver urgent mental health support to those who need it most. Goldman Sachs is the founding supporter by providing cornerstone funding for the fund.

The coalition, including the Samaritans, Young Minds, Mental Health Foundation, Mind and the City Mental Health Alliance, has set a target of raising £5 million and securing one million minutes of volunteering. This “money and minutes” fund will sustain and grow the most effective and critical mental health support provided by charities. The coalition launches its appeal as the UN warns of a global mental health pandemic because of COVID-19.

Goldman Sachs Gives has committed over £400k, through its COVID-19 Relief Fund, to help establish the Mental Health Sustainability Fund and support the critical work that is needed. All financial donations and offers of volunteering will be administered by the Association of Mental Health Providers, the leading national representative organisation for VCSE mental health service providers.

Poppy Jaman, CEO of the City Mental Health Alliance, has worked closely with the coalition to launch this appeal. She said, “Without significant intervention, the human and economic cost of this mental health crisis will be huge, enduring and touch every one of us. 

“A critical part of the solution lies with small to medium sized charities, which already sit at the heart of our communities – from geographical communities, to health workers on the frontline, people from BAME background, young people, LGBT+ or victims of domestic abuse. These trusted organisations have the experience to support those who are most vulnerable in this crisis. But as the pandemic has led to a surge in demand for mental health support, it has also caused a devastating drop in income and these smaller charities are the most vulnerable.

“We are grateful to Goldman Sachs for its partnership. Goldman Sachs is leading the way in helping to establish a critical fund that will support the mental health of our communities and, ultimately, help our country’s recovery as we emerge from this pandemic.

Richard Gnodde, CEO of Goldman Sachs International:

“From conversations with leading mental health organisations, it is clear that COVID-19 will have a wide-ranging and long-lasting impact on mental health across the UK. We are supporting this launch to assist smaller mental health organisations that are providing key services to people at these critical times. We very much hope that other businesses will join us in this important effort.”

Kathy Roberts, CEO of the Association of Mental Health Providers. “Across the UK, voluntary, community, social enterprise (VCSE) organisations are already responding to the needs of the communities they serve and come from. The sector continues to face many challenges in delivering services during COVID-19 and it is vital that service providers working in the community are supported to enable them to continue delivering essential, life-saving services to vulnerable people who need it most. With a potential mental health crisis imminent amongst people with existing as well as no pre-existing conditions, and the workforce within the health and social care system as a result of COVID-19, we need to consider and invest in services which will minimise the long term impact of the pandemic. The pandemic has brought to the fore the health inequalities that have always existed in society and we hope that financial assistance from our private partners will help to support the organisations working in the community to address these.”

In terms of volunteering support, the skills which grassroot mental health organisations have said would help them reach and support people more effectively during this crisis include web design; technology advice and support to transition services online; auditing; legal advice; data management; and advice for their Boards at this time of crisis.

A Governance Group will oversee the criteria for funding applications and will be tasked with ensuring the right balance between governance and speed of matching needs with skills and funding distribution for those who most need support.

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About the coalition of charities
The coalition of charities includes Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Association of Mental Health Providers, Centre for Mental Health, City Mental Health Alliance,  Helplines Partnership, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health First Aid,  Mental Health Innovations UK, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, National Survivor User Network, Place2be, Samaritans, Student Minds, The Mix Charity, and Young Minds.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Farimah Darbyshire at the CMHA:
Dania Hanif at the Association of Mental Health Providers: