At Independent Age, we continue to see how the pandemic is affecting older people’s mental wellbeing. Long periods of shielding, isolation or separation from friends and family, the shock of bereavement, fear of getting ill, and the strains of providing informal care, are some of the big things causing distress.
The government has published its COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan. It sets out some cross-government plans for how services are adapting to support people’s mental health, backed by the £500 million in funding announced in the spending review last year.
We welcome the plan, especially the announcement of plans to expand NHS talking therapy services, references to the impacts of bereavement, and plans to support people suffering the mental effects of ‘long COVID’.
However, the plan doesn’t include much detail on the specific experiences or needs of people in later life, including those who have been shielding for long periods. And we know that many older people with poor mental health struggle to access services, including talking therapy.