A new virtual well-being hub to promote positive mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched.

The Department for Communities and the Department of Health have partnered with 15 leading mental and wellbeing health charities including CAUSE and the Healthy Living Centre Alliance representing 28 local Healthy Living Centres to focus on promoting mental health and wellbeing during and after the COVID-19 emergency.

A UK wide study involving Queen's University Belfast has explored the psychological impact of lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic on people here.  The survey of over 2,500 people  included 470 people from NI of which one third have been found to meet the criteria for anxiety (30%) and depression (33%), and one in five (20%) meet the criteria for COVID-19 related PTSD due to the current pandemic. 

Commenting on the launch of the online hub Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, said:

The CovidWellbeingNI partnership draws together an unprecedented wealth of expertise and support with one clear aim – to promote the positive mental health of people including those vulnerable people and communities who are struggling at this time.

“Existing inequalities have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is important that information and support reach as many people as possible.”

The CovidWellbeingNI partnership is calling on people:

  •  To acknowledge how they are feeling and coping at this time
  •  Take  positive action to look after their mental health
  • Reach out for help and support.

The online wellbeing hub at  draws together information, self-help guides and ways to find support on a range of mental health and wellbeing issues.

Health Minister Robin Swann said:

“This is a key part of the COVID Mental Health Response Plan I announced two weeks ago. I would encourage people to use this unique and impressive resource created as a direct response to the emotional impact COVID-19 is having on our society.”

Mental health charity Inspire is leading a consortium of community partners including Together for You consortium. Inspire CEO Kerry Anthony explained: “As restrictions ease and we begin to talk about how society moves towards recovery, we need to ensure that we pay attention to the psychological, as well as economic and physical recovery.  This online wellbeing hub contributes to that recovery in a positive way.  It gives everyone who lives here access to mental health information on a full range of topics, evidence based self-help guides to help people take steps to look after their mental health and lots of resources and ways to find support.” 

Tony Doherty, from the Healthy Living Centre Alliance, said: “The unique strength of this partnership is that the online resources are backed up with strong connections into grass-roots community structures, both urban and rural, to ensure information from the online hub is also available in a range of other formats specifically targeted at vulnerable people and communities who may not have access to online resources.”

additional information 

  1. DfC is leading in the Executive on supporting and enabling the grassroots community response to the COVID-19 emergency. The department is acting as the government gateway for the sector, liaising across departments and with local government to support delivery on the ground. The department’s COVID-19 VCS Emergencies Response Programme is being supported and guided by the Emergencies Leadership Group, which Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey established in March 2020.
  2. The wellbeing hub is one strand of an approach to a Community Wellbeing programme of work being delivered by a consortium of community partners, led by Inspire to build on existing mental health and wellbeing resources within the voluntary and community sector to complement the work of the Emergency Leadership Group response to COVID-19.
  3. The partner organisations are: Action Mental Health , CAUSE, Nexus, Aware, Mindwise, Cruse, Barnardo's, Relate, Praxis, Rainbow, Age NI,Inspire, Addiction NI, Rural Support, Community Development & Health Network, Healthy Living Centre Alliance, Public Health Agency, Department for Communities and Department for Health.
  4. The CovidWellbeingNI hub is also hosted on the Minding Your Head website www.mindingyourhead.info. The Minding Your Head website is managed by the Public Health Agency. The hub will enhance existing access to information and services that support mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  5. The research by QUB is available here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/News/Allnews/QueenssurveyrevealshighratesofmentalillhealthinNIamidstcurrentCOVID-19pandemic.html(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  6. Media enquiries to Department for Communities Press Office at [email protected]
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hours and 0800 hours Monday to Fridays and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  8. Follow the Department on twitter @CommunitiesNI

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