The past year has been an extremely challenging year for both care providers and the population as a whole, perhaps even more so for the large number of individuals who suffer from mental health problems – in some cases exacerbated by the pandemic – but who are unable to access the support they need. Indeed, according to a 2014 report by the Mental Health Foundation, 75% of people in the UK with a mental health illness do receive no treatment and run the risk of continued deterioration without such support.
As the pandemic continues to show concerning signs of an imminent winter surge, many hospitals across the country who are now back open for business remain unable to operate as effectively as before due to COVID measures – a significant challenge in the face of what may soon be a fresh wave of COVID, flu, and delayed patients with poorer prognoses over the coming months. Beyond this frequent focus upon physical care services, it is vital not to overlook those patients likely to be among the most affected by the pandemic: those with existing mental health conditions who will be additionally stressed by the impact of the pandemic.
Indeed, mental health volumes have been most closely linked to the state of employment, something that has been severely impacted for many people over the course of the pandemic. Compounded by a not insignificant proportion of patients who will suffer the lasting affects of PTSD following ICU admission with COVID, many of our clients and colleagues have seen rising crisis presentations particularly amongst those active and on caseload in comparison to new patients – adding additional stress to those trusts who have already been fighting to meet high demand.
This report therefore aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the ongoing and growing challenges in mental health, both worldwide and in the UK. Some of the key themes of this report include the effect of the pandemic on alcohol and substance misuse, the effect of the pandemic on employers, and mental health forecasts for the coming year.