“Coping with COVID19”, is the latest seminar organised by the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing (NFHW). First presented live on the web on Saturday, February 27th, at the time of writing it has attracted almost 2000 viewers and can be watched on YouTube using the following link:


The seminar is likely to be of great interest to those personally or professionally concerned with the wider effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The proceedings offer a wealth of information on the effects of COVID 19 on the mental health of individuals and communities. They provide signposts to the organisations, resources and strategies which can help in understanding and resolving the potentially devastating psychological side-effects of the virus.

Brief details of the seminar are provided below:

Professor Romesh Gupta, OBE, Founder Chair of NFHW, set the scene as he welcomed guests and speakers to the event. Emphasising the pressing importance of the topic he noted that,

“….it is becoming increasingly clear that the Pandemic’s effects often subtle and long lasting, reach out to touch many more than those who are unfortunate enough to contract the infection.

The mental health issues associated directly with the infection are of great concern but so too are those which inevitably follow experiences of lock-down, self-isolation and shielding, bereavement, loss of income etc. These factors are having a profound effect on the mental health of individuals, families, friends and whole communities.”

Reinforcing Professor Gupta’s welcome, Professor Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Lancashire spoke warmly of collaboration between the University and NFHW.

Professor Jackson was followed by a series of distinguished speakers, listed below in order of appearance. Their contributions combine to provide a comprehensive commentary on the day’s topic.

List of Contributors – in order of appearance

Dr Rajeev Gupta,

National Chairman Central Specialist Advisory Committee Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health

Professor Dame Sue Bailey OBE DBE

Chair, Centre for Mental Health, past President, Royal College of Psychiatrists, immediate past Chair, Academy of Royal Medical Colleges.

Rob Webster, CBE

Chief Executive South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust.

Dr Nav Ahluwalia,

Executive Medical Director and Director of Research, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust.

Jerome Carson,

Professor of Psychology, University of Bolton.

Dr Abrar Hussain,

Consultant Psychiatrist at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Circle Reading Hospital.

Ian Smith

Freelance Photographer.

Marjorie Heyward

Rotary Club of Bolton Lever.

Professor Dinesh Bhugra CBE

Emeritus Professor of Mental Health and Cultural Diversity at the Institute of Psychiatry, past president, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Ashok Khandelwal,

Director, Healthwatch, Bedford Borough.

Bishakha Sarkar MBE

Rotary Club of Bolton Lever.

Robin Graham

Rotary Club of Manchester.

Professor Subodh Dave

Dean, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Consultant Psychiatrist, Royal Derby Hospital.

Many important topics were raised during the seminar including:

  • Mental health issues encountered as a result of COVID 19.
  • The role of family and community in addressing mental health problems.
  • The patient voice in mental health architecture patient groups.
  • Mental health and ethnic minority groups.
  • Unconventional methods to address mental health problems.
  • Mental health – impact on family and future generation.
  • New ideas for improving mental health in the UK including social prescribing
  • The role of voluntary organisations. etc., etc.

By addressing these and related issues the Seminar worked towards the achievement of its overall aim which was to provide a greatly engaging and enabling exercise with a long-lasting impact on participants. It was designed to provide a real opportunity to gain insight into some of the pressing mental health issues that you, your family and friends may currently be facing and to learn of potential sources of help.

Do take an opportunity to view the recorded event for what we hope will be a rewarding and informative experience.

For further information about the seminar please contact either:

Professor Romesh Gupta OBE, romesh.gupta@hotmail.co.uk or Dr Rajeev Gupta, raj@rajeev.me.uk


NFHW gratefully acknowledges the support of all the speakers and other contributors who took part in the Seminar.

Particular thanks are due to Dr Rajeev Gupta for guidance on the content of the programme coupled with technical advice on its virtual presentation.