Pandemic causes rise in Wigan people needing help with their mental health

More people were using NHS mental health services across Wigan in July than at the same point last summer, figures show.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:53 pm

Mental health charity Mind is calling for the Government to prioritise mental health, after figures showed a significant rise in the number of people receiving help across England in the last year.

NHS Digital figures show around 8,985 people were in contact with mental health services in the NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group area at the end of July.

This was an increase of 50 from 8,935 at the end of June, and more than the 7,725 at the same point last year.

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Across England, 1.44 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of July.

Though down slightly from 1.46 million a month previously, this was a rise of nine per cent compared to the same month a year before.

It was also the highest figure for the month of July since comparable records began in

2016.

Leila Reyburn, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: “These figures demonstrate just how many of us are struggling with our mental health as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The Government must make sure significant investment is given to mental health services from the £5.5 billion it has committed to the NHS.

“Even before the pandemic, mental health services were playing catch up after decades of underfunding; now is the time for decision makers to put their money where their mouths are and prioritise the mental health of the nation.”

The majority (80 per cent) of those in contact with mental health services in Wigan at the end of July were adults – 7,180.

There were also 1,605 children using mental health services for young people, and 420 people in contact with learning disabilities and autism services in the area.

Rethink Mental Illness said there is no one single factor driving the national increase in people using mental health services – but the pandemic has “undoubtedly had a significant influence”.

Mark Winstanley, chief executive of the charity, said it has disrupted people’s access to support, leading to a backlog for care.

Craig Harris, Accountable Officer at NHS Wigan Borough CCG, and Emma Nazurally, Associate Director of Operations for Wigan Borough at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT, said: “Since Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT took on responsibility for the mental health services in the Borough in April, there has been a lot of work to promote services to local residents so they know what support is available to them. This has been particularly important given how hard the pandemic and successive lockdowns have been on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“We are working hard together to ensure that there are the right services in place to give people the help they need. One example of this is the new 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line that local residents can ring any time day or night if they think their mental health is beginning to suffer.

“Whilst we never want to have more residents struggling with their mental health, given the circumstances, we see the increase in people using services as a positive sign that residents are aware of the services and are asking for help when they need it.”

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