The number of people now in contact with NHS mental health services in England has increased by 16.2% in the past year, with more than three million people being referred or seen, according to latest NHS data.
The statistics from NHS Digital showed that a total of 3,256,695 people were in contact with NHS-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in 2021 to 2022. This was up from 2,803,244 in 2020 to 2021 and 2,878,636 in 2019 to 2020.
This meant that 5.8% of people in England were known to be in contact with those services during the year. This compared to 5.0% of people in 2020 2021 and 5.1% of people in 2019 2020, NHS Digital said.
Mental ill health
The number of under 18-year-olds in contact with NHS mental health services in England increased by 29.2% in the past year to 992,647 in 2021 to 2022, up from 768,083 in 2020 to 2021 and 763,888 in 2019 to 2020, it added.
The figures have come as 19 mental health organisations have called on prime minister Rishi Sunak to take more action to tackle the mental health impact of the cost of living crisis.
The move follows a similar open letter written by 17 mental health organisations in the summer to then departing prime minister Boris Johnson and the arriving (if short lived) Liz Truss.
In the latest letter, the organisations have warned that they are seeing growing demand on their services.
“We will, of course, continue to do our absolute best to provide the necessary support,” they said.
“But we want to be crystal clear: the first intervention to reduce mental ill health and prevent suicide is to ensure every household has the means to be safe and warm with enough to eat.
“We urge the prime minister to act with speed and compassion to tackle the root causes of destitution and in doing so prevent suicide and an inevitable rise in mental ill health,” they added.
The signatories to the letter were:
- Julie Bentley, Samaritans
- Simon Blake Mental Health First Aid England
- Sophie Corlett, Mind
- Brian Dow, Mental Health UK
- Sean Duggan, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation
- Akiko Hart, National Survivor User Networ
- Victoria Hornby, Mental Health Innovations
- Dr Sarah Hughes, Centre for Mental Health
- Poppy Jaman, MindForward Alliance
- Dr Adrian James, Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Tom Madders, Young Minds
- Chris Martin, The Mix
- Paula Ojok, Helplines Partnership
- Kathy Roberts, Association of Mental Health Providers
- Catherine Roche, Place2Be
- Mark Rowland, Mental Health Foundation
- Michael Samuel, Anna Freud Centre
- Rosie Tressler, Student Minds
- Mark Winstanley, Rethink Mental Illness