High levels of need for mental health care shows critical for government to seize opportunity of ten-year plan

Sean Duggan responds to new figures that show 1.2 million waiting for community mental health care.

16 August 2022

Responding to the report in The Independent that the number of people waiting for community mental health care has risen to 1.2 million, Sean Duggan OBE, chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network said:
“NHS leaders and staff working in mental health services are working hard to address to overwhelming number of people waiting to access mental health care. 
“The reality is that even before the pandemic, there had been growing levels of need for mental health services and this has been exacerbated by the impacts of the pandemic. Projections show 10 million people in England – including 1.5 million children and teenagers – will need new or additional support for their mental health over the next three to five years.
“Our members leading mental health services want targeted and sustained attention and funding from government commensurate to what has been provided to tackle the elective backlog.
“It’s also critical that government seize the opportunity of setting out their ten-year plan for mental health, and heed the calls of NHS leaders who say that record levels of poor mental health have to be tackled from across Whitehall, and are not just seen the preserve of the Department for Health and Social Care. The cost of living crisis will be compounding the poor mental health of many people which is a further reason government must take action without delay.”