Around 10 million people in England will need mental health support; hence, there is a need for a new national focus – Local authority leaders call.
A recent Centre for Mental Health study has estimated that England will need mental health support for nearly 8.5 million (20%) and 1.5 million (15%) adults and children respectively. This support will cover illnesses involving depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
The 2020 study captioned, Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health, reported that 2 out of 3 people who will need mental health support are currently suffering from an existing mental difficulty. These individuals may also be receiving treatment and care already. Covid-19 pandemic may have boosted their need for more support, while other non-sufferers of existing mental health symptoms will need help for mental health first time.
According to Nick O’Shea, report author, “the numbers are stark.” Every country across the globe is suffering from the global disastrous Covid-19 and the impacts on our mental health are very severe.
The difficulties of meeting and providing mental health needs due to the pandemic may be as great as the challenges of dealing with the virus. Thus, this requires serious attention. It is important now that we prepare for what is ahead. And that implies setting up plans towards identifying people needing mental health support and to ensure that they get the right care as quickly as possible.
“Mental Health needs that are not resolved early enough can escalate to crisis point. In this case, we cannot take chances by leaving mental health problems unresolved until the pandemic has subsided.’
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to the report and emphasized the importance of the roles of councils in supporting people struggling with mental illness.
‘Councils hold the responsibilities to improve and maintain their residents’ mental health wellness through adult social care, children social care, staff support, suicide prevention, helping carers and new parents. There are also saddled with the responsibility of supporting schools, expanding public libraries, youth services, and providing safe entry into parks and green areas.’
The chairman also called for a new national evaluation and focus on issues concerning mental health and funds allocated to help councils support their locals.
There is a need to focus on the mental wellbeing of everyone and that includes those who are affected by Covid-19, supported by funds for councils to be spent with the voluntary as well as community sector so as to meet the local mental health needs – Cllr Hudspeth.
This will involve shifting focus and funding away from just treating mental illness towards a completely community-based approach to promote residents’ mental wellbeing. And this tends to persist now and beyond.
‘The forthcoming Spending Review needs to be used towards providing funds to councils for investing in effective and efficient mental health support and services to meet prevailing, new, and unseen demands that are being caused by Covid-19.