Experts have warned of an “impending” mental health crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
And waiting times for mental health services could “get a lot worse,” according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
A small survey conducted on behalf of the college found that some patients were forced to turn to emergency care after long waits.
The college said its survey of 513 British adults with mental illness found that many patients have to wait a long time between their first assessment and their next appointment – with some patients ending up in the emergency room.
Almost two-fifths (38%) said they or someone on their behalf had contacted emergency or crisis services while they were waiting for their second appointment, while 39% said the waiting had caused their mental health to deteriorate, said the college.
Meanwhile, the figure found that one in ten respondents (11%) waited more than six months between the first assessment and the second appointment.
Almost a quarter (23%) waited more than three months and 64% waited more than a month.
Dr. Kate Lovett, dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It’s just not good enough that so many people wait for mental treatment and get into crisis.
“Even before the pandemic, the mental health services were unable to keep up with demand. But the looming mental health crisis unleashed by the pandemic and economic recession can cause waiting times to worsen significantly.
“Not only do we need medical students and doctors to choose psychiatry, we also need resolute government action in terms of manpower, infrastructure and funding.”
It comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) said mental health services around the world have been disrupted due to the pandemic.
The WHO estimates that in nine out of ten (93%) countries, services have been interrupted or stopped at a time when mental health needs are increasing.
Grief, isolation, loss of income and anxiety trigger or exacerbate mental illness, the global health agency warned.
Many people are exposed to increased alcohol or drug use, anxiety, and insomnia.
According to the WHO, Covid-19 itself can lead to neurological and psychological complications, including delirium, restlessness and stroke.
As the pandemic worsens, demand for mental health services will increase, she added, as more money needs to be poured into mental health services – which have previously faced chronic underfunding.
You don’t have to suffer in silence when your sanity is struggling. Here are some groups you can contact if you need help:
Samaritans: Telephone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or confidential by email to [email protected]
Childline: 0800 1111. Calls are free and will not appear on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organization that supports suicidal teenagers and young adults. Telephone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. Not a hotline, but provides useful resources and links to other information website
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, in a bad mood, or who commit suicide. click Here visit
Bullying in the UK: A website for bullying children and adults. click Here
Campaign against miserable life (RUHIG): For young men who feel unhappy. Has a website Here and a hotline: 0800 58 58 58
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said: “We recognize the impact of this pandemic on people’s mental health and the NHS mental health services have adapted to continue to support those in need during the pandemic.
“We are providing an additional £ 9.2 million to national and local mental health charities to support adults and children affected by the pandemic and we are committed to increasing the mental health workforce one.
“Mental health services will expand further and faster through an additional investment of at least £ 2.3 billion per year through 2023/24 under the NHS Long-Term Plan.”