NHS warns of ‘mental health crisis’ due to staff shortages and rise in patients

mental health
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Mental health services in England risk could face crisis due to rising demands and staff shortages, according to an NHS survey.

According to polls conducted by NHS trusts, seven out of ten mental health leaders expect an increase in demands later this year.

And less than one in three of those surveyed felt that they had enough staff to meet the patient demands.

Asked to give reasons behind the increasing demand, one respondent said: “More people of all ages are becoming ill as a result of the pressures of modern life.”

Ministers and NHS leaders responded with plans for extra investments to improve mental health services.

A Department of Health spokesperson said:

“We’re committed to seeing mental health services improve on the ground and we expect NHS England to ensure the record amount of funding we’re giving to mental health reaches the frontline, with an extra £1bn a year by 2021.”

Two-thirds of respondents, including 115 executives of hospital trusts, have seen a rise in the number of patients seeking help, including those who turn up at A&E.

The Freedom of Information Act also provided evidence that there was a growing number of ambulance call-outs for issues relating to mental health.

The NHS crisis comes after new findings suggesting that one in three of the UK workforce have anxiety, depression or stress.

Over 2,000 workers from across the UK were surveyed for the research, with two in five of those questioned having taken time off due to their health and wellbeing.

This week, Prince Harry spoke about mental health in Leeds on a panel entitled “Encouraging Happy Young Minds”.

Alongside brother Prince William, and his wife Catherine, Prince Harry has spent the past year campaigning for a ‘greater understanding, compassion and kindness for anyone who opens up about their struggles’.

Addressing the audience, he said: “But let’s not kid ourselves that the job is done – there is much much more that we can do at every level to make conversations about mental health as commonplace as those about physical health.”

“For example, we need to better equip our young people with the tools they need to cope with this increasingly complex and fast moving world we live in,” he continued.

“I read recently that young people check their phones at least 150 times per day – I’m sure we could all be more effective and efficient if we took a moment to process our thoughts rather than rushing from one thing to the next.”

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