A campaign for better mental health support in Swindon is calling for more funding for services.

Samuel Robbins, who started the campaign last month, is leading the charge for better support services in Swindon and Wiltshire.

Samuel said: “Swindon needs more funding for mental health support.

“I think that is the key thing so that there is more support for people, because that is really lacking at the moment. It needs to start being equal to physical health services.

“That is what we would like to see this time next year,” he added.

Samuel has sent of a report highlighting the issue to Swindon’s MPs, the Prime Minister and the Duchess of Cambridge who is a renowned champion of the issue

The campaigner from central Swindon based his report on the findings of a survey he conducted on Facebook, about how Covid-19 has affected people’s mental health and the support available in in Swindon.

It showed one in five respondents had thoughts of ending their life during the pandemic.

“I wanted to highlight what I call the hidden issue because nobody talks about it,” said Samuel. “So much of the conversation is dominated by Covid at the moment, and a lot of the suicides and cases of serious self-harm aren’t being talked about. So I wanted to produce this video to help spread awareness of the problem, and also help people know that we are there to help them and let people know what we’re trying to do,” he added.

Samuel recently released a video filmed at Coate Water with the help of freelance videographer Charlie Lord, to boost awareness of mental health problems.

It tells a fictional story based on scenarios Samuel has encountered whilst running the Swindon and Wiltshire Mental Health Support Group on Facebook which he started when the first lockdown began.

“It’s not a real case study but it is based on what I’ve seen, and while none of those stories have ended in suicide, that is happening and the message needs to get out there,” said Samuel.

The group provides advice and signposting to people who may be struggling with their mental health.

“Christmas and New Year can often be a hard time for people suffering with mental health problems,” said Samuel. “A lot of people are on their own, especially now with the covid restrictions preventing people seeing family. Then also because it is Christmas people are going to eat more and drinking more, but that can also negatively affect you mental health,” he added.

The group have started doing zoom calls to combat loneliness and give members someone to chat to if they want. Future plans include expanding these to physical meet up once the Covid restrictions are relaxed.