The number of people seeking out mental health support will rise post-lockdown, a Kent charity has warned.
People who more likely to struggle with mental health - those in insecure housing, with poor health and low incomes - are now under even greater stress amid the pandemic.
Porchlight says the impact of the coronavirus crisis on individuals and communities will last long after lockdown is over.
Julia Hargreaves, Porchlight's head of community based services, said: “We predict the number of people needing mental health support will increase over the coming months due to the emotional and economic impact of the virus.
“We’re planning for this likely increase in demand, putting the resources in place to take action quickly and effectively to help communities recover from the impact of the crisis.”
Poor mental health can have a knock-on effect in all areas of a person's life. People who find themselves in such a situation often find it difficult to stay employed, maintain a tenancy, manage debts or stay connected to others.
The charity is urging those struggling to reach out for help before their condition gets worse.
They suggest seeking out the help of Live Well Kent, which is countywide network of organisations set up to support people. They specialise in everything from mental and physical health, employment advice and helping people who feel isolated.
Julia Hargreaves adds: "It’s really important that we’re still here to provide support, empathy and remind people that someone still cares.
“Support workers are in regular contact with people they know are struggling, listening to their concerns, sharing mental health coping techniques, and helping them to access support for housing, money and health issues, as well as more specialist help if needed.
"They have also been running online group activities such as cookery workshops, mindfulness, relaxation and art sessions, and virtual meet-ups with those that have similar experiences to help people feel connected with others during this difficult time.
"And they've been helping people who find it difficult to access virtual support. This has included sourcing smart phones and tablets so people can talk to their support workers via video call, and printing off information bundles for those who do not use the internet at all."
The organisations would usually meet people face-to-face, but in light of the pandemic they are able to support people remotely.
If you or someone you know is struggling, contact Porchlight on 0800 5677699 or go to porchlight.org.uk.