Referrals for mental health more than halve in East Riding during lockdown

The number of people with depression or anxiety referred for therapy more than halved during lockdown in the East Riding area, new figures reveal.

Saturday, 18th July 2020, 9:55 am
Mental health charities say they are concerned people may not be seeking help, despite suffering increased stress and anxiety during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: PA Images

Mental health charities say they are concerned people may not be seeking help, despite suffering increased stress and anxiety during the coronavirus crisis.

Last April, NHS statistics show that 1,140 people were referred to psychological therapies for depression and anxiety in the NHS East Riding Of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group area.

But the latest figures show that this April, the number had fallen to just 385 – a drop of 66%. There was also a drop in the number of patients who began therapy during the month – 365 compared to 475, a fall of 23%.

Danielle Hamm, associate director for campaigns and policy at charity Rethink Mental Illness said the figures reflected the “significant disruption” to mental health services during the initial pandemic response.

Research carried out by the charity in April found 79% of people with pre-existing mental illnesses said their mental health had deteriorated because of the pandemic, while 42% said this was the case because they were getting less support.

Dr David Crepaz-Keay, from the Mental Health Foundation charity, said the figures were “troubling”, but that the health service is only one source of support for mental health.

An NHS spokesman said the pandemic had turned lives upside down, but that therapy has always been available for those who need it. He added: “Local services continue to adapt to maximise the mental health support available.”