The ongoing pandemic and lockdown restrictions have created a complex and challenging environment for people to navigate, with mental health and wellbeing impacted considerably as a result.
This has created not only an increase in demand and pressure on mental health service providers, but also an increase in challenges for residents accessing services as they discover and navigate new ways of accessing support.
The Healthwatch Cornwall survey ‘Accessing Mental Health Support in Cornwall’ was conducted in February 2021 to understand how residents in Cornwall were accessing mental health services during the pandemic. The report published today demonstrates the difficulties and pressures placed on residents' mental health, and their experience of accessing mental health services for support.
The report makes nine recommendations for improvements that can be made to help improve access to mental health services in the future.
- 50% of respondents have accessed mental health support in the last six months
- One in four of those identified with ‘probable’ depression or anxiety have not accessed any form of support
- People appreciated the empathetic, listening skills of GPs and mental health professionals. For some, face-to-face contact remains important
- Young adults were more likely to describe symptoms of anxiety and depression and more likely to access support
- Online information and advice accessed least by young adults and over 65’s
- People unable to access the support they would like were more likely to have symptoms of depression or anxiety
- Some people experienced difficulties accessing support when they needed it, including difficulties getting help through their GP, and long waits for counselling and talking therapies
- Some felt improved signposting to other services while waiting to access support, or once discharged from services such as Outlook South West’s CBT sessions, or Community Mental Health Teams was important
- People with long-term physical health conditions described the impact of their condition on their mental health and wellbeing, and commented on the need for more specialist support
- Employee workplace support for staff’s mental health and wellbeing is key