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NHS mental health care has worsened during pandemic – poll

The pandemic has caused a drop in mental health care, with people not getting the support they need and not knowing where to turn in a crisis, according to a major poll.

The annual survey from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), of 17,322 people who used NHS community mental health services in England in 2020 and 2021, found people’s experience of some areas of care is at its lowest point for eight years.

Almost half of all those surveyed said their mental health had deteriorated due to changes made to their care and treatment due to the pandemic.

People aged 18 to 35 were more likely to say they had worse than average experiences compared to those aged 66 and over.

When it came to how care is delivered, those who received support by phone were more likely to report a negative experience than average in areas such as overall experience, access, communication, respect and dignity.

However, those who received care by video consultation reported better than average experiences in these areas.

Overall, the poll found 26% of people said they would not know who to contact out-of-hours in the NHS if they had a crisis.

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