The nation’s mental health is in urgent need of support – the government must act now

The government does not seem to see the 1.6 million people on mental health waiting lists as a priority, writes Paul Farmer

Monday 18 October 2021 13:39
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<p>Mind’s own research showed that more than 1 in 6 young people experienced mental distress for the first time during the pandemic</p>

Mind’s own research showed that more than 1 in 6 young people experienced mental distress for the first time during the pandemic

Last week, I heard about someone who spent three days in A&E waiting to get help while experiencing a mental health crisis. A&E is not a good place to be if you’re in crisis, and by the time they were finally transferred to a psychiatric unit, they were more unwell. The chances are they will need a much longer stay before they get better.

Amidst the regular furore about NHS waiting lists, when the health service publishes its latest performance data, a crucial statistic often gets buried. For several months in a row, a record number of people have been trying to get mental health treatment.

When the latest figures were released on Thursday, we found that at the end of July, 1.47 million people were in contact with mental health services. The harsh reality is that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the mental health of many people and, unsurprisingly, this is translating into more and more people seeking help from the NHS. What is astounding is that this government doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it.

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