Sheffield Council to tackle ‘upsurge’ in mental health problems

Sheffield City Council are planning to help suppress the increase in mental health problems during lockdown.

Psychological distress and levels of mental illness are rising as a consequence of COVID-19.

NHS England are anticipating an increase of up to 40 per cent in emotional and mental health problems associated with the virus.

A report to be discussed by the Sheffield City Council and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group on  March 10 said that “greater investment will be required in the coming 18 months to three 3 years”, if the city is to adapt to the “predicted upsurge” in demand of mental heath services.

A survey conducted by Sheffield Flourish showed that over 60 per cent of responders said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

As well as frontline staff, students are likely to have additional impacts from lockdown including stress about school progression and anxiety.

Harry Ewing, a journalism student at the University of Sheffield said: “This has to be one of the lowest times of my life – it’s very draining.

“It counteracts what a student should be – a student should always be progressing but lockdown feels like regression.”

“We should be moving to a brighter future but instead we’re stuck chained to ourselves.”

Social isolation, increased levels of stress and anxiety has led to the worsening of existing mental health conditions as well as leading to new problems appearing.

“It’s just an endless cycle of monotony,” Mr Ewing added.

Primary Care survey data indicated a 60 per cent increase of consultations related to depression and anxiety and 50 per cent for alcohol related problems.

The council report stated: “Covid-19 has revealed and confirmed the health and social inequalities that were already known.”

Noticeably, people from BAME communities have been significantly impacted by Covid-19.

This has coincided with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests.

The report said: “Given the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, it is imperative that we work with and invest in BAME-led VCSE organisations to understand community needs.”

“These inequalities drive poorer mental health outcomes across all population groups.”

The council is planning to increase the proportion of healthcare spend on mental health services from the current 12 per cent.

This investment would also be “disproportionately allocated” in order to tackle inequalities and support prevention.

Written by Cameron Greenlees

Journalism student at The University of Sheffield

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