Mental health services are not accessible enough, a new study reveals.

The research by charity, Mind, shows that a quarter of people who approached the NHS about mental health issues during lockdown, were unable to access any support.

One of the main reasons given was a lack of confidence in using the phone and video technology. Young people were twice as likely to feel uncomfortable accessing support in this way, citing privacy as the main issue. 32% of adults, and 28% of young people, said they felt undeserving of help, which Mind considers the biggest challenge faced.

The charity warns that UK Government needs to prioritise mental health. Today they’ve announced five key tests as part of a recovery plan, which calls for investment in community services, reform of the mental health act, and a ‘financial safety net’.

This comes on the same day that the temporarily-relaxed benefit sanctions have been reinstated, which could push many people with mental health issues from into further poverty.

Ayaz Manji, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind says: “We have long been campaigning for an end to sanctions for people with mental health problems, as they cause people fear, anxiety and further hardship. Suspending benefit sanctions was put in place to protect people from the impact of coronavirus. But reintroducing sanctions when coronavirus is still very much an issue is nonsensical. And we will continue to campaign against this decision and to make the benefits system work for those who need it.”

In a survey of 16,000 people, more than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) have said their mental health got worse during lockdown. The worst-hit are people who live in social housing, those who have lost their job or been furloughed, and people with long-term health conditions.

If you affected by any of the issues in this article, Supporting Minds have a lot of helpful resources and may be able to offer support if you live in the Fylde area – www.bfwh.nhs.uk/our-services/supporting-minds/

Or visit the Mind website for information and support www.mind.org.uk

This article was written by Lucinda Herbert