A new NHS Providers report on the difficulties NHS Trusts will face moving forward through the Covid-19 crisis has warned of an increase in demand for mental health services.

It was published today on the same day an open letter from the Health Foundation, King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust highlights the months it will take to restart many health and care services.

Both are welcome reminders of the long-term challenges that coronavirus will pose, says our Policy and Engagement Lead for Mental Health, Matt Smith-Lilley.

The report from NHS Providers identified a future surge in additional demand for mental health services on top of those who haven’t been accessing help through the crisis, with the report highlighting a significant reduction in the number of referrals for services such as CAMHS and IAPT.


The open letter highlighted five key challenges facing the health system in restarting core services, including reassuring the public about using services as well as how best to look after the existing workforce while also expanding to meet existing shortages and rising demand for services.

Matt said: “These two publications both bring another welcome spotlight on the longer term impacts of coronavirus for the health system and its ability to support the public’s health, including mental health.

“This is further recognition of what we have said all along about the psychological impact of Covid-19 and the inevitable increased demand on existing services.

“That’s why we’ve campaigned, alongside 23 partner organisations, for Governments across the UK to maximise the role of counselling and psychotherapy as a key part of supporting the nation through the current crisis as well as a vital part of the efforts to meet existing and new unmet need in the coming months and years.

Vitally important

“We know that the role of professional therapists will be vitally important in helping people come to terms with the impact of illness, bereavement, isolation and general anxiety and that too often counsellors and psychotherapists have remained underutilised and undervalued within the healthcare workforce.

“This has got to change and we would once again urge the NHS to make better use of the skills and experience of our members as part of the solution.”

Our campaign has so far been supported by over 10,000 people and has three key asks of Government:

  • Working with us to ensure there is a workforce to deliver a comprehensive mental health response to the crisis.
  • Tackling labour market barriers,
  • Signposting the public to the very best mental health support.

You can support our campaign by signing our petition.