A new report from Centre for Mental Health has predicted that 10 million people in England will need mental health support as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

The Centre for Mental Health have 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 Covid-19 pandemic. The primary purpose of the model is to support local organisations to predict levels of need for mental health support among children and adults in their communities.

This toolkit has been devised for local areas to calculate a forecast of additional demand for mental health services resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The slide-deck and the excel spreadsheet must be used together. The model was released on 14 September and future revisions will be issued in November, as new research is available to inform the forecast.

The model offers a forecast, not a prediction using the best data that is available to inform the model but the results are not a certainty. It should not be used as a sole determinant of future services

The report says: ‘Among people who have not experienced mental ill health prior to the pandemic, demand for services is forecast at 1.33 million people for moderate-severe anxiety and 1.82 million for moderate to severe depression.’

From the total number of people needing support, researchers estimate more than 230,000 NHS workers may need treatment, including for post-traumatic distress (36,996), high psychological distress (120,372) and burnout (81,499).

Among patients recovering from severe Covid-19, an estimated 630 will need mental health support for anxiety, 454 for depression and 354 for PTSD, according to the report.
Meanwhile, 36,000 people who lost loved ones will need treatment, with depression being the most common condition.

At present unemployment levels, which could rise, around 30,000 people who lost their job will need support for major depression. And of the 1.5 million children estimated to need support, 458,922 will need help for depression and 407,623 for anxiety. Children who have lost parents to Covid-19 will also require help, plus those who suffered other mental distress during lockdown.

Nick O’Shea, the chief economist at the Centre For Mental Health, who led the research, said: ‘The numbers are stark. Covid-19 is a disaster for every country that has been badly affected, and the consequences for our mental health are just as severe. ‘The challenge of meeting the mental health needs arising out of the pandemic may be as great as the many difficulties of responding to the virus. ‘So it must be taken as seriously. We must prepare now for what lies ahead.’

For further information, please contact Nick O’Shea, Chief Economist at nick.oshea@centreformentalhealth.org.uk