Millions of people in England with mental ill-health are not seeking NHS help, and many who get it face long delays and a “poor experience”, a report says.
Long waits for care will persist for years because soaring demand, exacerbated by Covid, will continue to outstrip the ability of severely understaffed mental health services to provide speedy treatment, the National Audit Office (NAO) found.
The report found that “NHS mental health services are under continued and increasing pressure and many people using services are reporting poor experiences”. Under-18s, the LGBT+ community, minority ethnic groups and people with more complex needs are most likely to find the system inadequate.
“While funding and the workforce for mental health services have increased and more people have been treated, many people still cannot access services or have lengthy waits for treatment,” the NAO said.
An estimated 8 million people with mental health needs are not in contact with NHS services.
There are 1.2 million people waiting for help from community-based mental health services.
While the mental health workforce grew by 22% between 2016-17 and 2021-22, the NHS recorded a 44% increase in referrals over the same period.
In 2021-22, 13% of mental health staff quit.
Read full story
Source: The Guardian, 9 February 2023