Mental and physical health are closely related. People who live with long-term physical conditions are twice as likely to have poor mental health as those who do not. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one-third of people with a long-term condition also had a mental health problem, and for people with multiple long-term conditions the chances of having poor mental health are greater still. It is highly likely that this has increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the people who have been classed as clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable during the crisis have long-term conditions. The day-to-day realities of shielding have had a profound effect on people’s home, social and work lives – disrupting their medical care and access to support while creating new health-related anxieties. And once again, people and communities with the least resources and greatest adversities have seen the biggest impacts on their mental and physical health.
During the pandemic, National Voices and The Centre for Mental Health spoke with people living with
long-term conditions, their family members and the healthcare professionals who work with them, to
understand the relationships between having a long-term illness and people’s emotional and mental wellbeing, and to identify ways of improving people’s experiences and outcomes. This report highlights the findings of that engagement.