Updated: Dec 20, 2020
A £500 million support package is to be unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a wider plan to boost economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be officially announced on Wednesday, the money aims to fund specialist services for young people and NHS workers, as well as help address the backlog of mental health referrals that has developed over this year.
Mental illness is thought to cost the economy up to £35 billion per year, without factoring in the increased demand for services as a result of Coronavirus.
"The pandemic has had a major impact on mental health because of increased isolation and uncertainty," said Mr Sunak. “So it is vital we do everything we can to support our mental health services and ensure help is there for people.
“This funding will make sure those who need help get the right support as quickly as possible so they don’t have to suffer in silence.”
There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a substantial impact on people's mental health. Looking at US health records, a recent study found that 20% of people diagnosed with the virus develop a mental health disorder within 90 days – a pattern likely to be reflected in the UK.
Outside of the mental health of patients, workers and frontline staff are feeling the strain too. Two in 5 senior UK executives reported 'self-medicating' with drugs and alcohol this year, while workers across Europe have experienced a rise in stress levels. Mental health support for NHS workers is also lacking thanks to awareness and resource issues.