Coronavirus: Up to 10 million Brits could need mental health support after the pandemic ends, charity says

Up to 10 million people in England could need help with their mental health because of the pandemic, a charity has warned.

According to analysis an estimated 8.5 million adults and 1.5 million children will need support for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders and other mental health difficulties in the coming months and years.

This is the equivalent to 20% of the adult population and 15% of all under 18s.

According to the Centre for Mental Health, two-thirds will be people who need help for existing mental health problems that have been made worse by COVID-19.

The other third will need care for mental health issues developed during the pandemic.

The charity used research into the psychological impact of coronavirus and information from previous disease epidemics to estimate how many people will need support.

Centre for Mental Health chief economist Nick O’Shea said: “The numbers are stark.

“COVID-19 is a disaster for every country that has been badly affected, and the consequences for our mental health are just as severe.

“The challenge of meeting the mental health needs arising out of the pandemic may be as great as the many difficulties of responding to the virus.

“So it must be taken as seriously. We must prepare now for what lies ahead.

“That means putting in place plans to identify people who need mental health support and ensure they receive the right care quickly.

“Unresolved mental health needs can escalate to crisis point without effective early help. We cannot afford to wait and see or to leave it until after the pandemic has subsided.”

Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have been monitoring the impact on mental health and the lives of people with mental health difficulties.

“We have identified the risks and the unequal impacts of COVID-19 on both mental and physical health. The extent of the crisis is becoming clearer every day.

“There is a rising tide of distress that will over time require effective and compassionate care and support.

“The Government and the NHS must act now. We must not leave the nation’s mental health to chance.”

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