Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:20 pm on 22nd October 2020.

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Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 4:20 pm, 22nd October 2020

There has been, quite rightly, much discussion of the mental health impact of covid during the pandemic. I have spoken about it on a number of occasions, largely with regard to children and young people and those working on our frontline in health and care, but today I will focus on two groups who have been largely forgotten and overlooked by the Government and are suffering the mental health impacts of the pandemic immensely: those excluded from financial support and unpaid carers.

We had a welcome statement from the Chancellor earlier, but those excluded from support since the start of the pandemic were yet again overlooked. We know well that those are largely self-employed freelancers and small business owners, especially in hard-hit industries such as the arts, the events industries and exhibitions, as well as many others. The financial struggle and anxiety is taking its toll on their mental health. They are struggling to put food on the table, support their families and keep a roof over their heads. ExcludedUK has already reported four suicides and large-scale insomnia and depression among those affected. My hon. Friend Jamie Stone, the chair of the gaps in support all-party parliamentary group, wrote to the Health Secretary and the Chancellor on that on 16 July but has yet to receive a response. We requested financial support for that group, a boost in mental health services and support for debt counselling charities.