By Caitlin Hart and Ayesha Parwani
New figure show 70% of young people claim their mental health became worse during lockdown, as demand for mental health services across Sheffield has increased.
Young adults aged 18-34 and women were more likely to report bad mental health in the first lockdown than any other cohort.
Mental health services and charities across Sheffield say they are still stretched due to the increased rise in demand. Patients are asked to wait a minimum of one month before any appointment can be finalised.
According to the Covid 19 Mental Health and surveillance study the proportion of adults who reported a clinically significant level of psychological distress increased from 20.7% in 2019 to 29.5% in April 2020,
Josie Soutar, Managing Director of Sheffield Flourish (Local Mental Health service) said: “A large part of Flourish’s work is about building connections for people and making people less socially isolated. We’re quite lucky that half of the work we do is digital so we were able to transfer quite a lot of services online.
“However obviously online services don’t suit everyone and they’re not quite the same as meeting up with people face to face so we did have a number of people that chose not to engage so we found other ways like letter writing and phone calls.”
Mental Health Charity, Mind, reported that 73% of students said that their mental health declined during lockdown. Students at The University of Sheffield have reported struggling with their mental health and being unable to access the services that they need fast enough.
Ilze Pole, 19, said: “SAMHS is a crucial service in our university. During my appointment, I got some helpful advice on what steps I should take next with what I was going through.
“The only thing was that I had to wait around a month for my appointment, I understand that the demand is probably quite high at the moment but I think waiting that long to receive help can be detrimental.”
Megan Ainsworth, 19, added: “I understand that the NHS and mental health services are under strain with the current situation but its just so frustrating when you reach out at your lowest point to be told you have to wait weeks for an appointment.”
Ms Soutar added: “It’s alright not to feel okay, we are all going through very weird things right now, it’s fine to struggle as there are massive changes globally. I think people think that just because we are in a lockdown, there is no support available, apart from traditional roots such as the NHS. So if you are put on a waiting list, there are loads of other options available online both self directed and online.”