Spike in Number of Mental Health Referrals in U.K. After Lockdown

The number of mental health referrals made in the U.K. in March this year is almost a fifth higher than the number made in February 2020, before the imposition of numerous, long-lasting lockdowns. At the same time, the number of patients actually receiving care has fallen. MailOnline has the story.

Around 300,000 Britons were recommended for treatment in March this year, a rise of 18% compared to February 2020…

Referrals more than doubled in hardest-hit areas in England, including Leeds, Redbridge and Greater Preston, according to the analysis by the BBC.

Urgent referrals to crisis care teams – which include suicidal patients – have also risen 15% in the same time period, nationally.

However, the impact of the pandemic on mental health referrals in England seems less clear when looking at the entire year. There were roughly 3 million in the 12 months to March 2021, about the same as the previous year.

Charities fear patients have suffered in silence and put off coming forward for care during the pandemic, and warn there could be huge increases in referrals to come.

Despite the spike referrals this March, the number of patients actually receiving care was 9% below pre-pandemic levels.

Limited capacity due to social distancing is said to be partly to blame, as well as reduced services during lockdowns.

One suicidal mother who tried to take her own life last spring said she felt “abandoned” by the NHS when it shut down services to focus on Covid in the first wave.

Experts have long warned that a silent mental health epidemic has been brewing amid the pandemic, particularly in the young.

Worth reading in full.

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