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Mental health: NHS encourages people with concerns to seek help

People with mental health worries are being urged to seek help, after a dip in referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic

People with mental health worries are being urged to seek help, after a dip in referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020 only 57,814 referrals were made compared to 133,191 in April 2019. The latest figures from July show that referrals are recovering, but are still down by 11% compared to last year.

Some people have experienced mental health issues for the first time during the pandemic and lockdown while others have seen them return. Common anxiety problems seen include (but are not restricted to) panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive problems, generalised anxiety/worry, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Emerging evidence suggests they are increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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‘The NHS has been and continues to be here for the nation’s mental health. We know the impact that COVID and lockdown can have on people’s mental health and it has never been more important to seek help. We are proud to launch our first national campaign on mental health services today and encourage people to come forward for mental health care,’ said Claire Murdoch, NHS National Director for Mental Health.

‘People might feel nervous about burdening the NHS or getting exposed to the virus but remember we are here to help. Whether you are a new mum, an older person or struggling with work, please speak to your GP or self-refer online so we can get you the mental health support you need. No matter what age you are, these therapies help and are effective and we want you to come forward.’

A new NHS campaign will encourage anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or other issues to come forward for assessment and treatment. NHS talking therapies, also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, are a confidential service ran by fully trained experts. People can access the service by visiting their GP or refer themselves online

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‘The last few months have been challenging for many of us, especially for those with pre-existing mental health issues, and the NHS and Mental Health Services have remained open to support those who need it,’ said Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Nadine Dorries.

‘Talking therapies can be highly effective in helping people who are experiencing anxiety and depression, and I encourage anyone who is struggling to come forward to get the support they need. Do not suffer in silence, speak to your GP or self-refer online to access support available.’