Mental health network

Swift action needed as COVID19 pandemic worsens mental health

Sean Duggan

Responding to ONS data on coronavirus and depression in adults in Great Britain for June, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:

“These figures show that the pandemic has already taken an incredible toll on the mental wellbeing of the British public, and that swift action is needed. Our members are already preparing to meet increased demand for services as a result of the pandemic, and studies like this help to quantify how much additional demand there will be. They are working hard to ramp up services like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies and to increase digital access, but there are concerns that the current financial provision for mental health, which was agreed pre-pandemic, will not be enough to meet demand.

“The role of primary care in supporting people with depression and anxiety will become increasingly important in the coming months. Primary Care Networks and the new community mental health framework present an opportunity to improve the relationship between GPs and mental health services, and provide more seamless, integrated mental health care.

“Meanwhile, COVID-19’s impact on the wider determinants of mental health such as housing, employment, debt and personal relationships has been significant. If social issues become more deeply rooted for a large section of the population, there is a risk that low level mental health needs will become more serious and require more specialist care. A cross-government approach taking into account the wider impact of policies on people’s mental health is essential.”

UPDATE: The Mental Health Network would like to make it clear that IAPT services have remained open throughout the pandemic and are open now.

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