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15 Mar 2022

Mental health slipping down the agenda

Figures from NHS Digital have shown a 15% rise in the number of referrals to specialist mental health services last year. For the first time, the number of children and adolescents being referred topped one million.

With an estimated 1.4 million people still waiting for treatment, the figures prompted the Royal College of Psychiatrists to give warning that it is becoming impossible for overstretched services to keep up with the unprecedented demand.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments on these figures from NHS Digital on rising mental health referrals:

“SANE is increasingly concerned about the future as mental health appears to be slipping down the agenda.

“The huge rise in the number of referrals last year, including more than one million children, suggests that we are sleepwalking into a crisis.

“Mental health staff are so depleted and on their knees that we know of patients and families told they have to wait until something terrible happens before action is taken.

“The Government has promised a national conversation on a new mental health strategy later this year. But we need urgent action or our failures to act now may leave us with a lost generation.”

Marjorie was a guest on Politics Live on BBC Two (16 March 2022) and joined the discussion on mental health involving host Jo Coburn, Miriam Cates MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP, Baroness Claire Fox and Jo Grady, General Secretary of the University and College Union.

Marjorie Wallace - Politics Live 16Mar22

Watch on BBC iPlayer – skip to 31:29. Available until 15 April 2022.


NHS struggling with ‘long tail’ of pandemic mental ill health – BBC News

Record 4.3 million referrals to specialist mental health services in 2021 – Royal College of Psychiatrists


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