To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government's Disability Unit has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the mental health of disabled people; and what steps that Unit is taking with other Government departments to tackle the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the mental health of disabled people.
19 March 2021
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published data assessing the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on disabled people.
The 11 March 2021 ONS release can be found on this link: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/datasets/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsondisabledpeopleingreatbritainmay2020
Alongside this, insights from qualitative research commissioned by the Cabinet Office Disability Unit and conducted by Policy Lab with disabled people were used to understand the impact of the pandemic on the day-to-day lives of disabled people.
This Government is committed to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, and to ensuring that the right support is in place. Mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic, and, for those with severe needs or in crisis, all National Health Service mental health providers have established 24/7 urgent mental health helplines.
We have provided over £10million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time. We have also provided a further £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with learning disabilities, autistic people and complex needs.
We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak has hit families of children with disabilities or serious illnesses particularly hard. Supporting vulnerable children is a priority for this Government, and their wellbeing has been central to our response throughout the pandemic. We are, for example, providing £40.8 million for the Family Fund in 2020-21 to support over 80,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This includes £13.5m to specifically respond to needs arising from the pandemic, which may include for example assistive technology to aid remote learning.
The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.
The Government remains committed to improving the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.