Coronavirus Mental Health Action Fund closes to applications ahead of schedule due to an overwhelming number of requests for mental health support during COVID-19

A £5 million fund for mental health charities has closed earlier than planned after receiving too many applications.

The Coronavirus Mental Health Action Fund, covered in the daily GRIN grants bulletin on 22 April, is funded by the government and distributed by Mind to charities that are supporting people struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic in England.

It opened for applications on 15 April and was not meant to close until 5 June. But Mind said it received more than 1,000 applications and has closed (or paused, according to the Mind website) early.

Funding requests totalled more than £30m, six times the fund’s capacity, and ranged between £5,000 and £100,000.

Charities submitted 237 applications worth £7.5m in total in the first ten days alone.

The pot also received £100,000 contributions from Monday Charitable Trust and Stone Charitable Trust, and a £300,000 contribution specifically for Wales from Comic Relief. 

Mind said it will be announcing the first round of grants, worth a total £1m, “in the next few days”.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “We welcome the UK government’s support for mental health charities in England. The overwhelming demand for this pot shows that people with mental health problems, and the charities that support them, are going to need a lot more help to deal with both the immediate need and the longer-term job of picking up the pieces.

Mind said that many people are struggling to get the mental health support they need. Earlier this month it published a survey, which found that a quarter of those who tried to access NHS mental health services in the previous two weeks had been unable to do so, for example because their appointment was cancelled.

Farmer said: “The pandemic is as much a mental health crisis as it is a physical one. People are really struggling with isolation, stress, grief, financial worries and fears about the future, and those of us who already had mental health problems have also seen usual support and services dry up in many cases.”

Source: Civil Society News