People's COVID Inquiry / Impact on the population (2 of 2) Families, NHS staff, mental health

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Episode notes

This session looks at the wellbeing of the population during the pandemic, with a focus on the welfare and mental health needs of NHS and frontline staff, families and young people. The Government’s decisions and how it communicated them to the public have had a major impact on the public’s responses, wellbeing and safety. Frequently, sections of the public have been blamed for their responses. We will ask if this was fair. The NHS employs 1.5 million staff and they have been through an extraordinarily traumatic time: burnout, anxiety, depression and PTSD are common. 150,000 UK deaths indicates that over a million have been bereaved and many more affected by loss. There is a significant rise in mental health conditions without an increase in resources to meet the need – including children and young people under 16, 19% of the UK population, in whom the rate of mental health distress has risen to 1 in 6 children, from 1 in 9 pre-pandemic. The Panel will hear testimony from an expert in social psychology; a research team on the comparative mental health impact on frontline health staff in two different countries – the UK and Ireland; an NHS CAMHS nurse working with children and young people; and from young person, a citizen witness who will testify to her experience in lockdown and her personal bereavement.


THE PANEL

Michael Mansfield QC (chair), Professor Neena Modi, Dr. Tolullah Oni, Dr. Jacky Davis

Lorna Hackett Barrister (Counsel to the Inquiry)

WITNESSES:

Stephen Reicher | Professor of Social Psychology, Univ. of St Andrews; participant in SPI-B (SAGE) and Advisory Group to Scottish CMO on Covid-19; member of Independent SAGE

Rachel Sumner | Senior Lecturer in Psychology, School of Natural & Social Sciences, University of Gloucestershire;

and co-researcher Elaine Kinsella | Chartered psychologist, lecturer in psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland

Fatima Az- Zahra Ali | School student 

Rachel Ambrose | NHS nurse in CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) and Nurses United

From Session 9: Jonathan Portes | Professor of Economics & Public Policy at King’s College London and former senior civil servant


We are seeing the devastating impact of Covid-19 on mental health, with more people in crisis. But we are

just as worried about the people who need help now but aren't getting it. Our fear is that

the lockdown is storing up problems which could then lead to a tsunami of referrals’ 

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, May 2020.




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