Mental health services, and support services for mentally ill people in the community, have been at breaking point in the United Kingdom for a very long time, and many mentally ill people will suffer in all manner of ways given the outbreak of Covid-19. MadCovid was set up initially to host diaries aiming to document the lived experiences of those who were mad before the entire world went COVID crazy for historical purposes and to influence change right now. It has now expanded to include the Hardship Fund and art project #Pandemink.
We are Jo, Bethan, Ellie and Nell, all survivors of mental illness and the psychiatric system. Jo is a doctor of medieval history and a member of UCU's NEC. She blogs here. Bethan is a Research OT employed by the NHS, and is also undertaking her PhD . She professionally registered with the HCPC.
We are setting up a fundraiser for people in the UK who struggle with mental illness who are facing financial hardship during these unprecedented times.
We would like to be able to offer small pots of money up to £200 based on people’s individual circumstances. Obviously this will all depend on how much we raise. Some examples of things mentally unwell people may be in need of:
- Those working in lived experience roles , who are self-employed and rely on this money for income, will lose out on money with no clear recourse to funds.
- Taxi fares to and from essential mental health appointments: it is important to avoid public transport because of social distancing, but it is also crucial that people with mental illnesses access any appointments they might have (e.g. psychiatrist, therapist, community mental health team).
- Kitchen appliances which will help with food storage and cooking, such as microwaves or freezers: many people with mental illnesses live without such items due a lack of money and manage in regular times, but faced with lockdown and an increased need to store and cook food, these items are now essential.
- Increased household bills such as internet data and fuel: those who are suddenly out of work will be faced with more time at home, but way less income.
- Home deliveries of shopping and other essential items, especially for people in crisis who can normally go out and about when well.
- Bulk ordering of products such as Fortisip which are a lifeline for people with eating disorders who may have been discharged from their residential programme too early because of COVID-19. Fortisip is extremely expensive and very hard to get on prescription from a GP.
- Medical supplies for dealing with self-injury/self-harm at home, for those who cannot get what they need free on prescription (such as hypoallergenic dressings) or who cannot attend A&E.
- Inpatient mental health wards may also apply to us for the cost of extra resources to keep patients busy and occupied, such as craft materials, board games or other costs for OT activities.
Money will only go to those who need it: folks who do not have access to other available funds from employers or through the government.
Grants will be verified by all three fund co-ordinators. Meetings to review applications take place once a week, usually on Saturdays, and grants approved after that.
As mentally ill people who have survived the psychiatric system, none of us can imagine what it must be like for those in crisis, or unable to access funds or look for work, at the moment. We appreciate your help.
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