Covid-19 inquiry - Mind granted Core Participant status
Leading mental health charity Mind has been granted Core Participant status in Module 3 of the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry. Chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett, a former Court of Appeal judge, the inquiry will assess the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the hope of learning lessons for the future.
Module 3 of the inquiry focuses on the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems, patients and staff, with consideration of the UK government’s and public’s response to the pandemic. Mind is the only mental health organisation to have been granted Core Participant status, and will be working closely with other influencers in the sector to make sure we can represent a wide range of issues. Being a Core Participant means Mind can submit evidence, call witnesses to give oral evidence and steer the inquiry’s investigations and scope.
Baroness Hallett noted that Mind’s ‘depth of knowledge’ and ‘understanding of a range of issues relating to mental health’ meant that we were well-placed to guide and contribute to the inquiry. In the UK, 219,000 people have died of Covid-19 – one of the highest mortality rates in the world. The Covid-19 inquiry will be one of the most wide-ranging and significant public inquiries the UK has ever seen.
Rheian Davies, Head of Mind’s Legal Unit, said:
“For nearly three years now, Mind has supported record numbers of people with their mental health since the first lockdown in 2020. Our services have seen more people than ever seeking out help, as well as a notable increase in the levels of distress and anxiety people are presenting with.
“We are clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a ‘parallel pandemic’ within it of extremely poor mental health. Mind’s research shows those worst affected had pre-existing mental health problems before the pandemic; but we also know that more people experienced poor mental health for the very first time. Mental health problems among children and young people continued to spike, with rates staying consistently high since the onset of the pandemic.
“Mind is delighted to have been granted Core Participant status, as it means we can continue to speak up for people with mental health problems and make sure that their voices and stories are listened to. All too often, people did not get the help and support they so desperately needed, and even today the NHS is barely enduring backlogs and increased strain from the pandemic. Many of us are still grappling with the mental health fallout and implications of the pandemic, which can be just as debilitating as the more obvious physical tolls.
“At all times, Mind will pledge to make the inquiry’s lens as inclusive as possible with an acknowledgment of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people living in poverty, people of colour, on young people and on women. It is vitally important that systemic racism and ableism be a pervasive part of this module and we particularly regret that the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community has not been represented.
“We will make sure that decision makers are held to account and lessons are learned for the future, to safeguard people with mental health problems going forward.”