Predictions expect thousands to be left with mental health issues from lockdown
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Predictions expect that around 12,500 people in Devon will be left with mental health problems because of the affects of the Covid-19 lockdown.
A board meeting of the Devon CCG on Thursday will hear that the National Centre for Mental Health’s first assessment indicates around 500,000 people are likely to have mental health problems as a result of COVID nationally.
So far, the ONS statistics have shown that 198 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in the county.
A presentation to the meeting will outline that the mental health effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might be profound and there are suggestions that suicide rates will rise, although this is not inevitable.
It adds: “Mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the actual pandemic, and the pandemic will cause distress and leave many people vulnerable to mental health problems and suicidal behaviour. Those with mental illness might experience worsening symptoms.”
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The presentation adds that an economic crisis increases the risk factors for poor mental health, with the effects of recession likely to continue for many years. The UK economy shrunk by a record 20 per cent in April.
A recession can lead to unemployment, debt and housing problems, which in turn can increase mental health issues and cause an increase in depression, suicides and suicidal behaviour, increased domestic violence and child neglect, child mental health and wellbeing issues, and an increase in drug and alcohol dependency.
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The increase in poverty will have the most impact on people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, on low incomes and in vulnerable groups, including children, young people, single-parent families, unemployed people, ethnic minorities, migrants and older people, the report adds.
Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the National Centre for Mental Health has seen a rise in demand for mental health and wellbeing services. This includes a 53 per cent increas in demand for mental health support online, a 40 per cent rise in sadness and depression, 30 per cent increase in levels of loneliness, 89 per cent in sleep difficulties and 115 per cent rise in pressure linked to a new work culture.
The NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body takes place virtually on Thursday at 1pm.