Pirate FM News 4 minute read

Referrals for mental health in Cornwall more than halve in lockdown

Referrals for mental health in Cornwall more than halve in lockdown

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:00pm 25th July 2020.

The number of people with depression or anxiety referred for therapy more than halved during lockdown in Cornwall, new figures reveal.

Mental health charities say they are concerned people may not be seeking help, despite suffering increased stress and anxiety during the coronavirus crisis.

Last April, NHS statistics show that 1,310 people were referred to psychological therapies for depression and anxiety in the NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group area.

But the latest figures show that this April, the number had fallen to just 485 – a drop of 63%.

There was also a drop in the number of patients who began therapy during the month – 750 compared to 1,230, a fall of 39%.

Across England, referrals were down by 57%, falling from 133,191 to 57,814.

The number of patients starting treatment fell from 95,070 to 62,375, a decrease of 34%.

depression alone

Danielle Hamm, associate director for campaigns and policy at charity Rethink Mental Illness said the figures reflected the "significant disruption" to mental health services during the initial pandemic response.

Research carried out by the charity in April found 79% of people with pre-existing mental illnesses said their mental health had deteriorated because of the pandemic, while 42% said this was the case because they were getting less support.

Ms Hamm said: "We’re very concerned to see the number of referrals dropping so rapidly at a time when a significant number of people reported a deterioration in their mental health, combined with an increase in waiting times for those who have sought help."

The NHS's official measure of waiting times shows little change during April, as it only looks at the waits those who finished their treatment during the month faced when they were first referred.

But for those patients across England who were waiting for treatment at the end of the month, analysis shows 18% had been on the waiting list for more than 18 weeks.

That is a huge increase on the 5% who had been waiting that long in April last year.

mental health

The national standard is that no more than 5% of patients should wait more than 18 weeks.

Dr David Crepaz-Keay, from the Mental Health Foundation charity, said the figures were "troubling", but that the health service is only one source of support for mental health.

"There are many other ways the Government can support the mental health of the millions who have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic.

"This includes action to increase people's financial and physical security, so they don't have to fear running out of food or fuel or being evicted, as well as wider changes such as more health visitors to support new parents, and mental health support for people who work in the NHS."

Dr David Crepaz-Keay, Mental Health Foundation

An NHS spokesman said the pandemic had turned lives upside down, but that therapy has always been available for those who need it.

“Local services continue to adapt to maximise the mental health support available, including online and telephone support, and anybody who thinks they would benefit from psychological treatment can refer themselves directly.

"The NHS is here for you, please help us help you.”

NHS spokesperson

You can find all the source data here.

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles
Newer articles

How drugs were affected by lockdown in Cornwall

Cornwall News: Dealers found 'creative' ways to carry on selling

Ten more confirmed cases of coronavirus in Cornwall

Cornwall News: The latest weekly figures of tests by the NHS and commercial organisations have been revealed

Older articles

Meet the people helping keep Cornwall’s high streets Covid-safe

Cornwall News: Street wardens are patrolling six different towns across the Duchy

More than 10k Cornwall care workers 'snubbed' in public sector pay rise row

Cornwall News: A leading think tank is calling for the government to take action

Most read

Fire breaks out at former hospital in St Ives

Cornwall News: Smoke and flames were billowing from the former Edward Hain Hospital site

Major work due to get underway on A30 dualling in Cornwall

Cornwall News: It's hoped it will end summer traffic jams between Chiverton and Carland Cross