Knowsley Council has committed to work with its partners and other service providers to support residents feeling isolated or lonely, as well as those with mental health issues.
At a meeting of Knowsley Council Cabinet Members on Wednesday 24 March, councillors accepted the recommendations put forward by the Scrutiny Committee Review into Mental Health, Social Isolation and Loneliness.
The review highlighted a number of areas of good practice and positive work, plus examples of changes to working practice during the pandemic which have led to improvements for some service users.
It noted the move to online delivery has increased engagement with some mental health services due to the anonymity this has provided and recommends the continued development of digital support.
Another recommendation, is for all Knowsley care home residents to have access to the internet in their private rooms, along with access to smart mobile devices, helping them to stay connected with family and loved ones, reducing social isolation and loneliness.
While another requests tailored training sessions for councillors to help identify the early warning signs of mental health and domestic violence.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care, said:
The last year has been extremely challenging. Many residents may now have been working from home for a year, others managing financial pressures due to being furloughed or job loss. On top of this many people will have had caring responsibilities, the pressures of home schooling, illness or sadly bereavement. It’s hardly surprising people have been feeling worried or anxious or experiencing isolation and loneliness.
“The pandemic has also exacerbated mental health issues and the sense of social isolation and loneliness for many people who were already experiencing difficulties.
“Improving mental health, wellbeing and social isolation is a priority for the council and many of the areas highlighted for improvement are already being addressed through our close working with our partners, which has strengthened during the pandemic.
“We will continue to work positively with other agencies and service providers to ensure residents can access, and know how to access, the support they need.”
The committee considered the impact of Covid-19 on the social isolation and loneliness experienced by people of all ages. There was a particular focus on people who had been required to shield for significant periods during the pandemic.
It found although social isolation and loneliness were prevalent prior to the pandemic, that Covid-19 had increased the issues for people in Knowsley.
The scrutiny committee’s full list of recommendations are available on the council’s website.