A group of NHS leaders said doctors are seeing an increase in people reporting serious mental health difficulties.
It followed a drop of more than 30% in referrals to mental health services during the peak of the pandemic.
But there are predictions that the recent increase will mean demand actually outstrips pre-coronavirus levels ̵1; perhaps as much as 20%.
The NHS federation says people who need help should move forward.
But the group, which represents health and care leaders, said in a report that mental services need “intensive support and investment” to be able to continue helping those who need it. .
The NHS Federation’s head of mental health, Sean Duggan, says that when coronavirus cases are at their highest, people stay away from services, just like they did with the other divisions of the NHS.
“The number of A&E is down, the number of general practitioners has also decreased. The same thing happens in some of our mental health services,” he said, as people try to reduce the burden on medical services. and find ways to avoid viral infections.
“The concern is, if you leave problems, they could get worse.”
This could explain some of the increase in the more severe cases to come.
As with those worsening during the downturn, NHS services also expect an increase in demand for mental health services as a direct result of the pandemic itself, reports know.
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It highlights isolation, substance use, domestic violence and economic instability as factors that may contribute to the need for additional support.
There are also “particular concerns that the marked inequality in access to services and the recovery rates faced by black and ethnic minority communities will be exacerbated.” “, the report said.
Mental health providers report that just as when patients have “more important needs”, their referral rates are higher than those receiving services for the first time.
Meanwhile, providers predict infection control measures and away from society will mean they are 10-30% less likely than usual.
Mr. Duggan said he didn’t want to “medicalize everything … It’s completely normal to feel insecure and anxious” at such an uncertain time.
But there is, however, a “real” increase in those in need of mental health services, he added.
NHS England last week announced the next phase of the response to Covid-19, acknowledging that “the need for mental health can increase significantly”.
Its plans include the expansion of Improved Access to Psychotherapy (IAPT) services – a pathway for the most common, mild to moderate conditions that people can access on their own. refer.
It also says people cared for by community mental health groups – often those with higher needs – should have their care reviewed. People with severe mental illness should receive more treatment and support.
The NHS England also indicated that their mental health and welfare services were being made available to all health care workers.