Details have been announced today about a new funding source which is designed to help voluntary and community sector mental health organisations as they work to meet rising demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Health and Social Care has released £5m which will be used to provide Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund grants of £20,000 or £50,000 for projects lasting up to 12 months.
As part of the programme, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) will be administering a fund to support user-led organisations and smaller community organisations which might not otherwise be eligible for a grant.
NSUN was set up to build a more united and confident mental health service user movement. It recognises the isolation, discrimination and disadvantage experienced by mental health service users and their needs beyond clinical treatment.
It plans to reveal details of the fund today on its website – www.nsun.org.uk – and says the service will remain open for mental health voluntary sector organisations for as long as funds are available.
The NSUN says applications can be submitted at any time and should take no more than 30 minutes to complete, with a fast-track process ensuring that bids are assessed every two weeks and outcomes communicated within a month.
Kathy Roberts, CEO of Association of Mental Health Providers, said: “This is a challenging time for the whole nation and consequently it is having a detrimental effect on our mental health and wellbeing, with those with pre-existing conditions severely affected. The mental health 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.
“The £5m grant made available by the Department of Health and Social Care for the voluntary and community sector will provide much needed support to services and allow providers to respond to the needs of people who need it the most in these anxious and unsettling times.”
Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, said: “We’re yet to fully understand the long-term impact that coronavirus will have on our mental health. But right now, many of us are struggling to cope through the lockdown period in isolation or without access to those things that help them stay well. For anyone with a longstanding mental health problem this impact is unimaginable.
“We’re really pleased that Government has recognised the vital role that voluntary sector mental health organisations have in working alongside NHS colleagues in the fight against coronavirus. And we’re delighted to be working in partnership with other leading mental health organisations in England to ensure that this government money quickly reaches those organisations who urgently need it.”