Almost 1,000 suffer mental health help delays

Mental health help delays.Mental health help delays.
Mental health help delays.
Almost 1,000 people waited more than three months for mental health treatment in South Tyneside last year, figures show.

The NHS talking therapy service treats patients for common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

Figures for the year to November 2022, show around 2,920 patients received a second treatment in the area – but 980 (33.6%) had to wait more than 90 days from their first one – a rise from 22.1% in 2019.

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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence rules state 75% of patients should get a first treatment within six weeks.

The figures for South Tyneside show services in the area were meeting that target – with 95.3% of 3,915 patients receiving treatment within six weeks – leaving around 160 people waiting longer – up from 145 in 2019.

Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) president Dr Adrian James, said: “Some patients' mental health may deteriorate if left untreated. There is also a danger that long waiting time will undermine people’s faith in mental health services and discourage them from seeking the support they need.”

Nationally, 154,000 people were waiting more than three months between their first and second treatment – up from 120,000 in 2019.

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Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation charity, said urged the Government to prioritise preventative approaches – and focus on tackling mental health problems before professional help is needed.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “The NHS is committed to increasing support for patients and in November there were 60,000 more appointments completed compared to the previous month.”