New mental health leaflets packed in emergency food and medical parcels will be delivered to 96,000 London households with limited or no internet access.
The joint scheme, run by Thrive LDN and the capital’s boroughs, is designed to support vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis.
‘Card pack’ leaflets, created by Thrive LDN, with tips and advice for people on how to look after their wellbeing, as well as contact details for supporting organisations and charities, will reach letterboxes in over 20 boroughs across the capital over the coming days.
They will be delivered by local authorities inside emergency packages distributed from council shielding hubs, which send emergency food and medicines to the capital’s most vulnerable.
The initiative follows the latest national data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showing that 72% of people aged 70 and over, and 75% of those with an underlying health condition, were worried about the effect that Covid-19 was having on their lives.
Around 2.5 million vulnerable people with underlying health conditions are at the highest risk from Covid-19, and have been told to avoid face-to-face contact and stay at home at all times – otherwise known as ‘shielding’. This has affected London’s older population more than any other age groups.
Nationally, more than 29% of people aged 70 and over say they feel highly anxious, with 15% feeling lonely at least some of the time.
They are also one of the groups that find it most difficult to access guidance and information online. Over half of all adult internet non-users (55%) in the UK are over 75 years old – more than 2.9 million people.
The Thrive LDN partnership brings together London’s NHS, public services, the Mayor of London, councils, and charities to a create a fairer and more equal city by promoting better mental health for everyone.
Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, mental health equalities advisor for NHS England and co-lead of Thrive LDN, said: “These are incredibly challenging times, and some people will find it harder than others because of their health, where they live and the impact Covid-19 has had on their financial situation.
“We can’t forget or underestimate the emotional distress this whole pandemic has had and will continue to have on communities across London.
“The cards are a small step towards providing some help to Londoners who are not using the internet, but we can all help by following the advice to stay connected, check in on each other and acknowledge that it’s OK not to be OK.
“These are unprecedented times, but help is available.”