Mental Health: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th December 2020.

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Photo of Rosena Allin-Khan Rosena Allin-Khan Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect isolation has on the mental health of vulnerable people during periods of shielding.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Government is aware of the challenges faced by clinically extremely vulnerable people. Throughout the pandemic, we have been clear on the need to balance the risks to this group with the benefits of gradually returning to normal life. Therefore, it was important to ensure that no-one was asked to shield unless absolutely necessary and shielding was paused at the earliest opportunity.

Updated guidance, issued on 2 December 2020, aims to strike a better balance between providing practical steps to help keep people safe while reducing some of the potentially harmful impacts on mental and social wellbeing that were associated with the previous shielding arrangements. It sets out the steps clinically extremely vulnerable people in each local tier can take to protect themselves and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

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