More than 1.85 million people were using mental health, learning disability and autism services in November 2023, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych). This is an increase of nearly 500,000 people since 2019.
Of those receiving support, 1.2 million people were in contact with adult mental health services and 444,904 were in contact with children and young people’s mental health services. Those in touch with learning disability and autism services had more than doubled to 266,575.
In September 2023, one in seven posts in English NHS mental health trusts were vacant. As a result, services are struggling to meet the demand.
President of the RCPsych, Dr Lade Smith CBE said:
‘We’re seeing more and more people arriving to services in need of urgent care and they often require more complex and long-term treatment.
‘We’re calling on government to introduce a target to bring numbers down and provide services with the funding and resources they need to achieve it. This includes ensuring services have the staff they need by recruiting more people into the mental health workforce and supporting existing staff to remain in it.’
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