MORE than £100,000 will be invested in improving the mental wellbeing of residents after it was revealed severe mental health problems are on the rise ­— and Bolton's 'unhappiness' rate is the highest in Greater Manchester.

Health and council bosses stress the mental wellbeing is a priority. They said they had already ­—before the current crisis ­— drawn up plans to improve mental health of local people.

Figures released in a council report show:

- an estimated 42,000, or 15 per cent, of residents aged 16 and over have a common mental health disorder. For children, aged five to 16, that figure stands at 9.8 per cent.

- more than a third of people in Bolton are said to suffer from medium to high anxiety

- the town had the highest proportion, 10 per cent of 'respondents', with low feelings of happiness

- Bolton has a higher proportion of patients with severe mental illness than England, with the rate rising faster than that seen nationally

But statistics also show that 90 per cent of residents are ‘happy’, with a higher than average 39 per cent who reported they were ‘very happy’ living in the town.

Now £130,000 will be invested in a wellbeing programme, with the programme involving the voluntary, community, faith and local enterprise sector, as well as the public and private sector.

In a joint statement from Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group and Bolton Council said:“Mental health issues undoubtedly have an effect on people’s lives and wider health conditions, and we recognise this as a priority area of focus in Bolton, with partners working to develop the best possible support and solutions for our residents.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had put together a three-year plan to work directly with residents and design services that will support, improve and maintain the mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone in Bolton.

“This fits in with our wider plans, across all partners, to improve the health and wellbeing of residents taking into account the additional impacts of employment, education, housing and environment.

“We acknowledge that this is a particularly challenging time and we are working with our partners to develop additional mental health support as we continue to adapt to the COVID-19 situation.

“In Bolton, the voluntary mental health sector has really risen to the challenge of not being able to have face-to-face contact with people. They have creatively adapted to telephone and video consultations, kept in touch by sending cards and conducted quizzes, and extended their support to family members in some cases.

“While we know this is not ideal, it is everyone’s priority to keep people safe and well, and we are pleased with the local response so far.

“Like the rest of the country, there will be people experiencing anxiety for the first time and there are a number of resources to help anyone who is struggling during lockdown, including Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign and other links available on the council website.

“We would advise anyone who is experiencing problems with their mental, emotional or physical health should contact their GP by phone. Services are still here for them and can help.”


COVID-19 community response line – anyone needing vital help for food and essential items (including medicines) call 01204 337221 between 8.30am - 5.30pm Mon-Fri, or 9am - 1.30pm on Saturday.

Single Point Of Access (SPOA) – If you need help with anxiety or depression then please contact SPOA on 01204 483101 or via their online portal –

Samaritans are here for you to listen in confidence and without judgement 24 hours a day for free. Contact them on 116 123 (Freephone) or email

Kooth –Online counselling for children and young people in Bolton 11 – 25 years old. –

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service on 0161 983 0902 or visit

Every Mind Matters -

Money concerns – call 01204 332772 to speak to Bolton Council about their Local Welfare Provision (

Domestic Abuse - Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit their website

Age UK – 01204 382411 or . (To request a call phone 9am-4pm, Mon – Fri)

Bolton Dementia Support - Support and advice is currently being provided via phone and email so please contact them on 01204 386696 or for more information.

Bolton Carers Support – helpline is now open 24 hours, 7 days a week - 01204 363056.

Silverwellbeing Therapy Service – Call on 01204 917745 or

Building A New Direction (BAND) – Please contact them on 01204 380643 or for more information.

Mental health Independent Support Team (MhIST) – Please contact them on 01204 527000 for more information.