Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network, has welcomed a new NHS mental health campaign, which will look to work to support and overcome the ongoing mental health challenges facing the UK.
His comments come shortly after the publication of the Public Health England (PHE) survey on mental wellbeing, which painted a disturbing picture of rising mental health services demand - demand which, according to an estimate by the Health Foundation, may cost the NHS as much as £1.4bn next year.
Mr Duggan said: “The results of Public Health England’s survey are concerning, but sadly not surprising. As the crisis continues and restrictions return, it’s inevitable that an ongoing toll will be taken on the nation’s mental health.
“We welcome the support from Every Mind Matters campaign. Of course, not everyone surveyed will need mental health services, but it’s vital that we look after our mental health in the same way we look after our physical health.
“There is a consensus that the pandemic will cause an increase in demand for mental health services, and the Centre for Mental Health has suggested 10 million people may need new or additional support as a result.
“Some of our members are already seeing an increase in demand – for example, an increase in referrals to children and young people’s mental health services. Our members are also reporting an increase in severity of conditions.
“The effects of the pandemic and consecutive lockdowns mental health may not have fully surfaced yet. We will need extra support for mental health to be available in the months and years to come.
“The £500m of extra funding next financial year will help to meet additional demand, but it must be a down-payment. Our work with the Health Foundation showed the cost of meeting additional demand for mental health services will be £1.4bn next year.”
The Mental Health Network is part of the NHS Confederation.