DURING this latest lockdown, you are not alone. The Argus We’re in it Together campaign is here to help direct you to any services you may need and show what services are on hand that you may not know you needed. For our full list of services all over Gwent, click here.

Mental health is one of the main concerns for people during the lockdowns, as social distancing and the alert level 4 rules not allowing as much in-person contact as we are used to is very likely to affect the mental health of a lot of people - particularly young people, those living alone and the elderly.

We spoke to Newport Mind chief executive Dave Bland about some of the issues affecting people’s mental health throughout the pandemic and how Newport Mind have adapted their support on offer.

NEWPORT Mind is a staple in promoting mental health awareness and better mental health for all across Newport and offering support services in varying ways - which has been vital for a lot of people who have been needing the support.

Mr Bland said: “We have managed to offer everything we provided before the pandemic, but online or via phone. Even our choir has still been singing and we have had people dropping off crafts for our clients to do.

“We have more people getting support, but it is hard to say whether that is purely down to the pandemic as we have also increased the projects we are offering.

“The pandemic has definitely had an impact on people’s mental health, with young people in particular, especially with the situation with exams for GCSEs and A-levels. Also, they are not in schools so do not have the support network they would have there.”

Mr Bland is glad that people are reaching out for support and hopes that this will continue, as well as people offering their own support.

“I think that’s the good thing to come from the pandemic - if there can be something good about a pandemic - that people are reaching out to support others. I hope that this continues after this is eventually over.”

Newport Mind offer a wide range of services to help with mental health, including adult wellbeing activities, groups and self-management courses through Zoom.

Mr Bland said that some of these had been returning to in-person for those who are digitally excluded, in small, safe, socially distanced meetings of no more than five people.

The charity also offers 1-2-1 support for adults and children which are continuing online.


“We’ve been doing a lot of 1-2-1 support and recently had some clients come back for face-to-face support, which we have had to suspend again now that we are in alert level 4," said Mr Bland.

“We also have 20 tenants in supported housing who we have been doing a lot of work with as they have essentially been locked down for all this time.”

The housing and tenancy support team are dedicated to supporting those living in the houses and also people having their own housing issues, whether it is with tenancy agreements, homelessness and they provide benefits support.

During the pandemic, the charity has also been delivering food parcels. Newport Mind also offer counselling services for £40 a session or for £10 a session if the client is suffering from financial hardship or is receiving benefits.

A number of options for support for children, young people and families is also on offer. This includes 1-2-1 and group support and some in-school projects.

Mr Bland has praised the work of his staff and volunteers throughout the pandemic. He said: “In my role, I have been really impressed with how our staff have changed and adapted overnight by using imaginative ways to get the support they offer out there.

“The staff and volunteers have all prepared to be flexible with adapting and delivering to new people. We’ve had to be very careful with safety for staff and worked very hard to do that.”

Newport Mind are also in full preparations for further expansions of their services with a number of targeted projects in the pipeline.

For more information on what Newport Mind is able to offer, view some of the online resources or to ask for help, visit http://www.newportmind.org/home-page/ or call 01633 258741.