Tens of thousands of people using mental health services in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
Tens of thousands of people use NHS mental health services in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, figures show.
Mental health charity Mind calls on government to prioritize mental health, after figures showed a significant increase in the number of people receiving help across England in the past year .
NHS Digital figures show that around 21,370 people were in contact with mental health services in the NHS region of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group at the end of July.
However, this is a slight decrease from 26,735 at the end of June and 23,610 at the same point last year.
Across England, 1.44 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of July.
Although slightly down from 1.46 million a month earlier, this is an increase of 9% from the same month a year earlier.
It was also the highest figure for July since comparable records began in 2016.
Leila Reyburn, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said: “These numbers show how hard we are with our mental health as we come out of the pandemic.
“The government must ensure that a significant investment is made in mental health services out of the £ 5.5 billion it has pledged to the NHS.
“Even before the pandemic, mental health services were catching up after decades of underfunding; Now is the time for policy makers to put their money where they say it is and to put the nation’s mental health first. “
The majority (64%) of those in contact with mental health services in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes at the end of July were adults – 13,760.
There were also 5,585 children using youth mental health services and 2,350 people with learning disabilities and autism services in the region.
Rethink Mental Illness said there was not a single factor behind the nationwide increase in the number of people using mental health services – but the pandemic has “undoubtedly had a significant influence.”
Mark Winstanley, chief executive of the charity, said it had disrupted people’s access to support, leading to a backlog of care.
He added: “The past 18 months have clearly caused significant emotional distress for people and it has been more acute for people living with severe mental illness.
“This has increased the risk factors that contribute to poor mental health such as debt, social isolation and unemployment.
“It is essential that our health, social protection and social protection systems are strengthened through reforms and investments to address the new challenges facing people with mental illness. “
The Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) said its £ 500million mental health recovery action plan would ensure people in need get the right support.
A DHSC spokesperson added: “Covid-19 has affected everyone in the UK and Community and Crisis Services have continued to provide support throughout the pandemic, with digital appointments and in face to face.”