Over the past week, an estimated 1 in 6 people have experienced a common mental health problem.  This is why additional support is vital during COVID-19 when many are forced to isolate in their homes.
Anyone struggling with their mental health is already vulnerable when self-isolating but what if they couldn’t access support? This is a worry for non-English speakers in English-speaking countries.
With over 2 million non-English speakers in the UK, we must consider how they can access vital services during COVID-19.
Mental health struggles and accessing services
This graph shows that mental health affects both men and women across the UK. Thankfully, the government, NHS and multiple charities set up helplines and communications to provide lifesaving support. DA Languages wants to work to make that vital support available to all, regardless of language barriers.
Of course, non-English speakers are not the only community affected by this crisis. The deaf and hard of hearing community are also vulnerable during this time.
While the lockdown helps keep us safe from COVID-19, it is making the work of mental health professionals more difficult. Face to face meetings cannot take place, which can be extremely distressing. This distress is heightened if you are a patient used to speaking with a professional and having an interpreter present for any appointments.
During this time, we want to support the amazing work being done by all essential and frontline staff including all mental health workers. Remote working conditions require remote working solutions.
Translation services are an excellent first step in helping any non-English speaker find and access the information they need about their mental health. This could include FAQs, online self-assessments, informational guides and even blog posts talking about how to cope with self-isolation.
By translating key information, anyone can access what they need and the help they require.
One of the main barriers when it comes to accessing mental health support is the stigma that surrounds such conditions. It’s important to consider that in different cultures and communities, mental health is discussed and acted upon in different ways. Translations can assist in getting the judgment-free message across without offending or criticising any culture’s approach. The main aim at the end of the day is to make sure that the information is available for all.
More women are reported to experience mental health issues in their lives than men. However, the suicide rate is higher in men. Of all the suicides recorded in 2013 78% were male and 22% female. 
This does suggest that women’s and men’s experiences differ. Women are more likely to seek help and report they are struggling with their mental health. This highlights the importance of helplines.
Being able to call anonymously and talk to someone can help someone struggling from taking more drastic measures. Of course, if they are not understood due to language barriers this can exacerbate the situation and potentially make things worse. Telephone interpreting allows helpline staff to efficiently call an interpreter and patch them into the call.
Having someone who understands your language and culture can also add an extra level of comfort to a service user. They know they are being completely understood and receiving the best advice and help possible.
Video interpreting has become a prevalent service as everyone looks replace face to face. Video interpreting has the added benefit of visual cues and communication. The end-user, professional and interpreter can all see each other, and a better assessment of mood and wellbeing can be determined.
Video interpreting is not only an excellent solution for non-English speakers but also for the deaf and hard of hearing. Accessing mental health is important for these communities as deaf people are more likely to suffer from personality or behaviour disorders and more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol.  The importance of easy access to mental health support and resources is clear.
Along with telephone interpreting, video interpreting is available 24/7. We understand the NHS and mental health services don’t stop and so neither does DA Languages. It is important to remember that many people across the UK were struggling with mental health prior to COVID-19, and self-isolation can place many on the edge at risk especially if a language barrier acts as a further hindrance. DA Languages wants to support our amazing mental health sector by breaking down language barriers.
Around 450 million people suffer from mental and behavioral disorders globally at some time in their life.  That is just the number of reported cases which could indicate the number of people silently struggling is higher.
Through our remote language service solutions, we hope that anyone already receiving treatment and those in need of additional support during this time can access without language barriers getting in the way.
If you would like to know more about how DA Languages can support the mental health sector during COVID-19 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel you need support during this time here are NHS mental health services: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines
Bromley, C., et al. (2014). The Scottish Health Survey: 2013 edition, volume 1, main report. [online] Edinburgh: The Scottish Government. Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0046/00464858.pdf [Accessed 25 Aug. 2015].