For many people, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. Trying to cope with anxiety during such unprecedented times has been extremely difficult for many people. Naturally, Anxiety UK wanted to help as many people as possible and moved swiftly to offer support and extend its services for those experiencing anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression.
Since the start of the pandemic, due to the increased demand, we extended our helpline hours to provide additional support in the evenings and over the weekend. On March 23rd 2020, when the UK went into lockdown, that week our helpline saw 612 calls – over three times the volume of calls we would normally take in a usual week.
During the coronavirus peak in one week alone we received over 900 calls to our helpline and our volunteers spent a total of 11,889 minutes on the phones. It’s fair to say that we are proud to have been able to be there to support the nation through such troubling times. Indeed, all of our other helpline channels also saw an increase as can be seen from the graph below and this increase in demand continues.
Some of key issues that people were contacting us about (as well as being anxious about catching the virus itself), included experiencing anxiety about spreading the virus to others including vulnerable loved ones. People have also been concerned about whether they are following the right rules correctly; and whether enough in general is being done in response to the pandemic. We have heard from people from all walks of life but particularly from our heroes: NHS workers, care workers and retail workers, who again expressed concerned not necessarily for themselves but for their family, friends and of course, for their patients and customers.
It wasn’t however only Anxiety UK’s helpline services that experienced a sharp rise in people requiring support with their anxiety during the global pandemic.
Our therapy services, (despite discontinuing face-to-face therapy), also saw a steep increase in demand from clients wishing to access counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), clinical hypnotherapy (CH) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). Thankfully, we have a large pool of over 400+ Anxiety UK Approved Therapists who have been able to meet this need and have continued to provide support to our clients, whilst also responding even more promptly; instead of a 2 week wait, those wishing to access therapy are now seen within one week of contacting Anxiety UK for support. As face-to-face therapy has not been an option; instead clients have been able to access online and telephone-based support with 80% opting for online therapy and 20% for phone therapy. Key presentations for therapy services included panic attacks, health anxiety, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and anxiety-based depression.
With the pandemic continuing and the nation’s anxiety levels appearing to be on the rise again, Anxiety UK’s services remain open and able to offer responsive, accessible support for anyone affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression. For further information see: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/our-services/accessing-therapy or call 03444 775 774.