Up to 10 million people are predicted to be in need of mental health support
The Centre for Mental Health has worked with NHS colleagues to build a model based on the best available evidence to forecast how many people may need mental health support as a result of the pandemic. This model estimates services for England will need a combined capacity for over 10 million additional people (10.08m). The results are detailed in a briefing paper ‘Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health.’ Forecasting needs and risks in the UK: October 2020
Nationally, in England, the model predicts that up to 10 million people (almost 20% of the population) will need either new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the crisis. 1.5 million of those will be children and young people under 18.
About two-thirds of people who will need support already have existing mental health needs, including severe mental illness.
The majority of people will need support for depression or anxiety, or both. Others will need help for trauma symptoms and a range of other difficulties, including complicated grief arising from bereavement and loss.
As further evidence becomes available, the figures may rise: for example when the extent of the unequal effects of the pandemic on Black and minority ethnic communities, on care homes and disabled people becomes clear.
The report recommends that the Government and the NHS must take steps now to prepare. Mental health problems cannot be ignored. A proactive, timely, compassionate and effective response will help people experiencing mental health difficulties before they reach crisis point.