More people seek mental health support in Herts Valleys CCG area
Herts Valleys CCG covers Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans and Harpenden, and Watford and Three Rivers
More people were using NHS mental health services across Herts Valleys CCG area in July than at the same point last summer, figures show.
Mental health charity Mind is calling for the Government to prioritise mental health, after figures showed a significant rise in the number of people receiving help across England in the last year.
NHS Digital figures show around 13,135 people were in contact with mental health services in the NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group area at the end of July.
This was an increase of 45 from 13,090 at the end of June, and more than the 11,200 at the same point last year.
Across England, 1.44 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of July.
Though down slightly from 1.46 million a month previously, this was a rise of 9 per cent compared to the same month a year before.
It was also the highest figure for the month of July since comparable records began in 2016.
Herts Valleys CCG is encouraging people to seek help at the earliest opportunity.
The CCG's core mental health service is the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT)
Last year, the HPFT launched a new free helpline number for people in Hertfordshire who are experiencing a mental health crisis, looking for mental health help or just need to talk.
Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on: 0800 6444 101.
For support in a mental health crisis you can contact the HPFT NHS Single Point of Access, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A spokesperson for Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We’re seeing high levels of demand on mental health services in Hertfordshire, as with the rest of the country.
"Our core mental health service, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, is working hard to respond to increased referrals and is offering support through digital or face to face appointments.
“We are working with the mental health trust, GPs and the voluntary sector to help people access a range of appropriate support options that are tailored to meet a range of different needs.
"And we have been increasing funding for mental health services with additional funding going into support in the community and support for people in crisis.
“We would encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health to seek help at the earliest opportunity.”
You can refer yourself into local services online, or you can also use the mental health trust’s online chat facility which is available Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm – follow the link at www.hpft.nhs.uk.
The website also includes links to partner organisations offering additional crisis support. If you need urgent mental health support, you can call NHS 111 and select option 2.
Patients can also look on the Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust website which has a range of self-help resources on a variety of topics including bereavement, coping with stress to self-help guides with coping with depression, anxiety and anger.
Leila Reyburn, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: "These figures demonstrate just how many of us are struggling with our mental health as we emerge from the pandemic.
"The Government must make sure significant investment is given to mental health services from the £5.5 billion it has committed to the NHS.
"Even before the pandemic, mental health services were playing catch up after decades of underfunding; now is the time for decision makers to put their money where their mouths are and prioritise the mental health of the nation."
The majority (78 per cent) of those in contact with mental health services in Herts Valleys at the end of July were adults – 10,185.
There were also 2,750 children using mental health services for young people, and 675 people in contact with learning disabilities and autism services in the area.
The Department of Health and Social Care said its £500 million Mental Health Recovery Action Plan will ensure those in need receive the right support.
A DHSC spokesman added: “Covid-19 has affected everyone in the UK and community and crisis services have continued to provide support throughout the pandemic, with digital and face to face appointments."