Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Mental health in England and the impact of COVID-19 - reducing loneliness, supporting keyworkers and vulnerable groups

Morning, Tuesday, 10th November 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will discuss the key issues for mental health in England - particularly in the context of COVID-19.

The agenda:

  • The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on public mental health in England and priorities for ongoing support
  • Learning from service delivery during the pandemic - adapting to new ways of working, and meeting the challenge of increasing demand on NHS, local authority and charity services
  • Mental health and COVID-19 - a service user perspective
  • Key issues for children and young people’s mental health - dealing with the long term effects of the pandemic, and supporting teachers and students as schools reopen
  • Reducing loneliness, tackling inequalities and supporting elderly and vulnerable groups - identifying need, continuity of care, and utilising technology and innovative methods of communication
  • Next steps for mental health in England and responding to challenges in the wake of COVID-19

The discussion in detail:

The impact COVID-19 on public mental health and service delivery

  • what more can be done to support service users and their families and provide continuity of care, while adapting service delivery as a response to the pandemic
  • the impact of COVID-19 and rising demand for mental health services on local authorities, charities and the NHS - what more support is needed and what can be learned from best practice
  • supporting the mental health of NHS and social care workers - both short term and long term - in the wake of the pandemic
  • dealing with the impact of social distancing, isolation, restrictions on movement and increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic on the long term mental health of the wider population

Children and young people

  • how schools are adapting as they reopen, and whether more support is needed for teachers to support the mental health of young people
  • what more should be done to promote good mental health and improve early intervention following the announcement of 25 trailblazer areas for the new mental health support teams, and with new teachers being trained to spot the signs of mental health issues

Supporting elderly and vulnerable groups

  • identifying and addressing loneliness - as the Government:
  • the elderly and clinically vulnerable - including use of support via technology, remote care, and community support groups, with many having been required to shield or limit social interaction
  • expectant and new mothers:
    • what more should be done at a time when isolation and social distancing may have made their existing support networks unavailable
    • how best to improve engagement around possible anxiety
    • what changes may mean for service provision, delivery and support groups
  • the BAME community - the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and what more can be done to reduce inequalities going forward, in light of data showing that people from a BAME background are disproportionally affected by COVID-19, and with the forthcoming Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Why this is particularly relevant now - the context:

Mental health and the pandemic

Key policy developments and reports

  • Government launching the Review into Early Years Health, including emotional factors which may act as barriers to development, with findings and recommendations due in January next year
  • The recently-published King’s Fund report on mental health and primary care networks, noting over-simplified categories for illnesses and referrals, the need for closer local partnership working and close alignment between national policies, and the requirement to address staffing gaps
  • Mental health crisis services rolled out across England as part of the ongoing implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Health Education England’s Mental Wellbeing Report, which found that shifts in behaviour and culture are needed across the whole of the NHS in order to improve the mental wellbeing of staff
  • The Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On report which examined progress in tackling health inequalities finding an increased health gap between wealthy and deprived areas

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places at this conference have been reserved by officials from: the Department for Education; the Department for Work and Pensions; the Home Office; BEIS; and the Office for National Statistics.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Sophie Corlett

Director of External Relations, MIND

Dr Justin Varney

Director of Public Health, Birmingham City Council

Chris Thomas

Senior Research Fellow, IPPR and Author, Care fit for carers: Ensuring the safety and welfare of NHS and care workers during and after Covid-19

Keynote Speakers

Nick Harrop

Head of External Affairs, YoungMinds

Chris Thomas

Senior Research Fellow, IPPR and Author, Care fit for carers: Ensuring the safety and welfare of NHS and care workers during and after Covid-19

Gregor Henderson

National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health, PHE

Sophie Corlett

Director of External Relations, MIND

Dr Justin Varney

Director of Public Health, Birmingham City Council

Tim Kendall

National Clinical Director for Mental Health, NHS England

Carolyn Regan

Chief Executive, West London NHS Trust


Melita Walker

Mental Health Lead, Institute of Health Visiting