THERE was a massive surge in people seeking help from an Oxfordshire mental health charity as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

In March, Oxfordshire Mind experienced a 390 per cent increase in calls to its information line and since the pandemic began more than 1,200 people have sought support.

However, contact has now dropped compared to the peak leading to concerns from the charity that people are not accessing the help they need.

Oxfordshire Mind is now appealing to the public to enable its volunteers and staff to continue to offer help, as like most charities its fundraising activities have been 'significantly impacted' by Covid-19 at a time 'when the need for its services are greater than ever'.

Last week Oxfordshire psychiatrist Dr Andrew Molodynski, who is also the British Medical Association's mental health policy lead, warned more funding and resources must be put into mental health services to take care of the many people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including frontline NHS staff.

Dan Knowles, chief executive of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “Covid-19 has dramatically highlighted the need for services like ours. The pandemic is changing all our lives and placing huge amounts of stress on our mental health.

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"For those already living with mental health difficulties, the self-isolation and social distancing measures put in place, as well as fears about the virus itself, are adding to the pressures of the current situation.

"Thus, there will be both short and long-term impacts on our mental health.”

Oxfordshire Mind have adapted its services during lockdown. There are some face-to-face services available including the Banbury and Oxford Safe Havens for people in crisis.

The charity has also increased the number of phone lines for its information service and expanded its opening hours.

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Its benefits advice service is still fully operational, to help people with mental health difficulties claim the benefits they are entitled to.

Mr Knowles said: “Our fundraising has been reduced significantly due to cancelled events and activities over the last few months.

"We are reaching out for help. If you can, please support us to ensure that our life-changing, and lifesaving, work can continue.”

To donate go to or text MIND 10 to 70470 to donate £10.

If you require additional advice or support contact the Oxfordshire Mind information service by either emailing, calling 01865 247788 or visiting the website.