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Pandemic has caused a surge in Psychotic cases

woman sitting down with her head in her hands
woman sitting down with her head in her hands Image credit: verywellmind.com

The past two years has seen a rise of people suffering hallucinations and delusion as they struggle to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the NHS there was an increase of 75 per cent of patients referred to mental health services being diagnosed with psychosis between April 2019 and April 2021.

Throughout July 2021 doctors recorded 12,655 referrals, a 53 per cent rise compared to July 2019 which saw 8,252 patients suffering from the condition.

In May 2021 there were over 13,000 referrals, a 70 per cent increase to May 2020 where doctors recorded 7,813 cases.

The Rethink Mental Illness charity is encouraging the government to financially support the NHS research psychosis more thoroughly so patients will stop deteriorating from the condition which can take years to recover from.

A recent study revealed there was an estimated 76m extra cases of anxiety and 53m additional cases of major depression worldwide in 2020 suggesting the pandemic has conclusively caused a significant rise in mental health referrals.

Rethink Mental Illness is pushing for quicker treatment to lower the risk of people developing further episodes of psychosis suggesting those experiencing their first episode of delusion should be treated within two weeks.

Brian Dow, the deputy chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “Psychosis can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Swift access to treatment is vital to prevent further deterioration in people’s mental health which could take them years to recover from.

“These soaring numbers of suspected first episodes of psychosis are cause for alarm. We are now well beyond the first profound shocks of this crisis, and it’s deeply concerning that the number of referrals remains so high. As first presentations of psychosis typically occur in young adults, this steep rise raises additional concerns about the pressures the younger generation have faced during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a game changing effect on our mental health and it requires a revolutionary response. Dedicated additional funding for mental health and social care must go to frontline services to help meet the new demand, otherwise thousands of people could bear a catastrophic cost.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “It is vital everyone can get the right support when they need it and we are delivering the fastest expansion in mental health services in NHS history, backed by an additional £2.3bn a year by 2023/24, benefiting hundreds of thousands more people.

“On top of this, we’ve invested an additional £500m this year to help people whose mental health has been particularly impacted by the pandemic. All NHS mental health providers have established 24/7 urgent helplines, which have answered around three million calls during the pandemic.”

Approximately 1 percent of the population suffers from a psychotic disorder.