Today the Chair of the COVID-19 public inquiry Baroness Heather Hallett, has written to the Prime Minister with recommendations to expand the terms of reference. Included within this is the recommendation that it considers the mental health and wellbeing of the UK population.
The VRA was one of 25 organisations that backed BACP’s call for this to be included. BACP’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs Martin Bell said: “We’re pleased to see that Baroness Hallett has listened to this campaign for mental health to be included in the inquiry.
“This was a powerful call from organisations representing those who’ve seen first-hand the mental health impact of the pandemic and played a critical role in support vulnerable communities over the past two years. These strong voices have been heard and acted on.
“We hope the inclusion of mental health in this inquiry will ensure lessons are learnt and shape future mental health support and investment, and responses to any other pandemics.
“We’d like to thank Baroness Hallett for publicly supporting this call in her letter to the Prime Minister and to the other organisations who backed our campaign for mental health to be included in the inquiry.”
The joint letter to Baroness Hallett stated that mental health was a missing element of the Government’s strategy through each phase of the response, despite “extensive international evidence of the mental health impacts that health events of this magnitude have on society.”
It also highlighted the importance of vocational rehabilitation support saying: “The importance of expanding and developing a more diverse mental health workforce to ensure a choice of accessible and culturally appropriate therapy is urgently in place to support those most impacted by the pandemic alongside vocational rehabilitation support to assist people to return to or remain in work.”