Support for mental health is vital | Letters

The effect of lockdown on disabled people and the need for suitable housing is highlighted by Celia Thomas, while Barbara Davey points to the help available for students from university chaplains

Your article (Stress, anxiety and depression levels soar under UK Covid-19 restrictions, 16 September) is right to highlight the impact of lockdown measures on people’s mental health. The effect on disabled people’s wellbeing must also be recognised.

A YouGov poll commissioned last week by the housing association Habinteg revealed that, of those disabled people surveyed, their wellbeing during lockdown was three times more likely to have been damaged by living in unsuitable homes. Also, disabled people were 17 times more likely than non-disabled people to be unable to carry out all daily tasks, such as using the kitchen and bathroom, without assistance.

The government has announced a consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes. With many disabled people continuing to spend more time indoors it is essential that these standards are improved so that all new homes are accessible (for example, with wider doorways and waist-high power points) and adaptable.
Celia Thomas
London

• Glen O’Hara’s account of the challenges facing university communities (Britain’s universities have been abandoned to fight Covid-19 alone, 14 September) is a hard read and he is right to highlight concerns for students’ mental health. But in the “battery of support” available, let us not forget the contribution of university chaplains. Chaplains now serve in diverse and multi-faith teams, offering a listening space, support and encouragement. Their non-dogmatic spiritual approach can be of unique value in these troubled times.
Barbara Davey
Honorary Quaker chaplain, St Andrews University

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