Cheshire East Council is urging any residents affected by the emotional strain of the Covid-19 pandemic, to seek help and not to suffer alone.
The council’s plea comes as the Samaritans in Macclesfield revealed a big increase in the number of calls during the crisis.
Council leader Councillor Sam Corcoran, who is also chair of Cheshire East’s health and wellbeing board, said:
We need to increase support for mental health services, putting mental health on a par with physical health.
I recently attended the opening of the Samaritans new offices in Macclesfield and it was distressing to hear of the huge rise in the number of people contacting Samaritans as a direct result of the emotional strain of the pandemic.
Next Saturday (10 October) is World Mental Health Day and we should all be aware how mental health can affect everyone – young and old – and from all walks of life.
We are extremely fortunate to have such an organisation in Cheshire East and I applaud the many volunteers who give up their time – day and night – to become a listening ear for residents suffering mentally or emotionally because of the impact of this pandemic on their lives.
The council has recently channelled £20,000 in financial support to the charity through the local discretionary grant and small business grant schemes.
In April, the council announced the appointment of two adult mental health champions to provide advice and support to the cabinet member for adult social care and health during the Covid-19 crisis. Councillors Sally Handley and Jonathan Parry were appointed to help signpost residents who wish to access mental health wellbeing services and not to feel stigmatised.
In a joint statement, they said:
Since the outbreak of Covid, and the subsequent lockdown, our communities have faced unprecedented difficulties and challenges which will have impacted on peoples’ mental wellbeing. We urge any resident who feels they need help to please reach out to the amazing organisations detailed on the council’s website – you are not alone, there is no shame in asking for and receiving help.