Mental Health Foundation is investing in partnership working with the HLCA to develop a tailored programme to protect the mental health of people living with long term physical health conditions.

As part of their Covid Recovery Programme, the ‘Mental Health for Better Days’ project aims to develop a mental health wellbeing module within our award winning Better Days Pain Support programme.

Many people in Northern Ireland live with one or more long-term conditions. The recent Health Survey NI 20/21 found that two-fifths of people have a physical or mental health condition or illness expected to last 12 months or more. This increased with age, from a quarter of those aged 16-24 to over two-thirds of those aged 75 and over.

People living with long term conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, are more at risk of experiencing mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. The mental health challenges inflicted by the pandemic, lockdown and social distancing rules have been difficult. In addition to this, managing a health condition places even more pressure on people. With reduced access to health and social care services and social support networks throughout lockdowns, many were left to deal with emotional distress alone.

In August 2020, 49% of the general population felt anxious or worried due to COVID-19. This compares to 63% of people living with a long-term physical health condition and 65% of people living with a long-term mental health condition.

The HLCA work with communities across the North, using a person-centred approach to improving health and wellbeing. Through our partnership, MHF will work with HLCA members, staff and volunteers to grow their ability to embed a prevention approach to mental health.