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Fear, anxiety and long-term mental health as the main issues raised by callers to Premier’s Lifeline this year

Fear, anxiety, grief and long-term mental health problems have been among the main issues raised by those who called Premier's helpline this year.

As the pandemic hit and lockdown began, the number of calls increased by 50 per cent versus the previous year.

Director of Lifeline Jonathan Clark told Premier although the calls were very mixed, there was one issue that stood out:

“The biggest thing that we've noticed is the absolute increase in the number of people turning up with mental health issues. The people who've got longer-term mental health problems have been absolutely severely affected by this.

“They've lost a lot of their support networks, it all just disappeared.”

The national Christian helpline had just trained a new set of volunteers as lockdown hit but they were still overwhelmed with the number of calls. Mr Clark said that as the pandemic unfolded, the calls were a reflection of what people were going through.

“We also had all the bits about how it's impacting people in other ways, whether that's due to further redundancy, impact on children not being at school for that first lockdown…and the whole thing about not being able to see friends and family, church not happening…

“It really completely turned the world upside down, as we all know, but the calls just reflected that as time went by.”

But even with the vaccine being currently rolled out across the UK, Mr Clark expects the quantity of calls to continue through 2021.

"Whilst it's still this threat, we will still have people phoning up about fear, anxiety, stress," he said. "Also all the aftermath of dealing with it, whether it's homelessness, redundancy, looking for work, dealing with health problems, which are legacies of the illness itself.

"And also, the grief bit is going to go on for a while, because a lot of people have not been able to grieve properly for what they've lost this year.”

Premier’s Lifeline is open 9am to midnight every day on 0300 111 0101.

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