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Opinion: Treating mental health during coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 May 2020

Cllr Ketan Sheth praises the mental health team during coronavirus.

Cllr Ketan Sheth praises the mental health team during coronavirus.

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It’s a Covid-protection measure but inside they are doing fabulous things that put mental health on a par with physical health; “parity of esteem” as it’s called, something I’ve campaigned about for many years and one of the reasons I’m lead governor at the Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL).

Cllr Ketan Sheth (centre) enjoys the Heart of Wembley festival. Picture: Ketan ShethCllr Ketan Sheth (centre) enjoys the Heart of Wembley festival. Picture: Ketan Sheth

There’s a division in nursing; physical on one side and mental on the other and “never the twain will meet” – but not any longer! During the pandemic, mental health staff have nursed people with mental illness and Covid; which is hard if someone is very unwell mentally to prevent Covid spreading, but they have done so successfully and safely. They also set up a special Emergency Centre there so that people in mental health crisis didn’t need to go to A&E and that helps the hospital too – which is doing a fantastic job!

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The CNWL Community mental health services went seven days a week, with 24 hour home support which means there are empty beds!

It’s like the whole service has been modernised at speed! A new telephone service went live this week; CNWL Check in and Chat follows up “shielded” people who are out of treatment but vulnerable – 3,000 are in mental health services and this throws a helpful arm around them.

The NHS staff have been courageous and dedicated and innovative and they deserve applause for that too.


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