A new campaign to support people living in south east London experiencing mental ill-health during the COVID-19 pandemic launched last week.
The ‘Free Your Mind’ campaign will run until 22nd August 2020, using an array of digital resources to support south east Londoners take better care of their mental health. It has been initiated by NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
It will reach out to more than two million people living in the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.
The CCG’s clinical lead for mental health, and Southwark GP, Dr Nancy Kuchemann, said: “COVID-19 has had a profound effect on people’s mental health, adding to existing worries and concerns – and magnifying them.
“Even before the pandemic, many Londoners had to cope with loneliness, isolation and housing and financial worries. But recent weeks have made life even more difficult – affecting many people of all ages, from all walks of life.”
Dr Kuchemann added: “We want these people to know that the NHS and its partners are here for them. Our ‘Free Your Mind’ campaign will offer practical support, guidance and help and also give much-needed reassurance to those who are having a tough time.”
In the build-up to the launch of ‘Free Your Mind’, the CCG has been working closely with mental health providers. These include South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, and XenZone, whose mental health and wellbeing platform, Kooth, is used by 1,500 young people each day.
Free Your Mind will also incorporate the use of existing resources via Healthy London Partnership and Good Thinking. The CCG has also worked collaboratively with the boroughs of south east London, and is linking with the voluntary sector and patient representative groups.
‘Free Your Mind’, will deliver its messages using powerful images and a variety of methods including preferred platforms such as text messaging, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
The particular needs of specific communities living in south east London, including BAME groups, young people and the elderly were taken into account as the campaign was designed.
Dr Kuchemann said: “We’re confident that ‘Free Your Mind’ will deliver significant and measurable results in enabling the people of south east London to get the help they need and deserve.
“The mental health legacy of COVID-19 will be with us for a long time to come. Even as we begin to emerge from lockdown, many people continue to live with the consequences of the pandemic, including lost income, isolation and fractured relationships.
“We want ‘Free Your Mind’ to have a legacy too – a positive one that will offer hope and help to the people of south east London at a time when they need it most.”
For more information on ‘Free Your Mind’, visit nhsfreeyourmind.co.uk.