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Richmond and Kingston Covid-19 Update: May 18


Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week, which could not be more timely. Lockdown has been hard on many people, especially those who are alone, those whose home is not a happy home, and those who have reason to be especially fearful for their health or their loved ones' health. We should each take a moment this week to consider our own mental health and see if we need to take some steps to improve it by reaching out for help, or using self-help resources. Here is a good place to start:

This year's theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. So in addition to reviewing your own mental health care, the Mental Health Foundation is asking us all to consider what we are doing to help others cope. We have all read and been touched by stories of kindness from around the country; this crisis has brought us together emotionally as it holds us apart physically. Being kind to someone else lifts up both the giver and the receiver, and we all need that lift right now.

To help inspire each other, we can share stories and pictures (with permission) of kindness during the week on Twitter using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

On a policy level, my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for the NHS and care staff. They have been tackling the virus head on since March, and are working under enormous emotional strain. The package we are proposing includes:

  • 24/7 access to a dedicated helpline

  • Guarantees that health and care staff will not be penalised for time off

  • Additional training and mental health first-aiders in every health and care workforce

  • Steps to standardise the quality and service of mental health care offered


I have been speaking with local schools last week and today. They are working hard to prepare to receive children in June, thoughtfully making the arrangements they feel are are most suitable and realistic for their own circumstances. I salute them for the role they have played in keeping children safe since the lockdown began, and for the efforts they are making to comply with government instructions.

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, herself a teacher, is calling for the Government to publish the scientific data on which they have based the decision to reopen schools. This will reassure schools that the decision to reopen schools was a safe and responsible one. I know that our local schools have many serious questions about the science around children and coronavirus, the answers to which would inform their policies as they open their doors to more children.


The government has agreed a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London. TfL is working hard to return Tube and bus services to normal levels while many of their staff are themselves ill or self-isolating, and with sharply reduced revenues. Given the requirement to maintain two metres distance between passengers wherever possible, the capa