Coronavirus pandemic ‘biggest hit to mental health since Second World War’

A leading psychiatrist has said the coronavirus pandemic could be the “biggest hit to mental health since the Second World War”.

Dr Adrian James, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has said even when the virus is under control, there will be “profound” long-term consequences.

He told the Guardian: “It is probably the biggest hit to mental health since the Second World War.

“It doesn’t stop when the virus is under control and there are few people in hospital. You’ve got to fund the long-term consequences.”

The deaths of loved ones from coronavirus, along with mass unemployment and the social effects of lockdown are well documented.

Mental health charity Mind described the situation by Christmas as a “mental health emergency”, adding that “2020 has been a year of anxiety and uncertainty and more people need us than ever before”.

The charity said in November that more people have experienced a mental health crisis during the coronavirus pandemic than ever previously recorded.

There was a 15% increase in urgent referrals of people suffering mental health crises from March until July this year, and 2,276 more urgent referrals made in July 2020 than the same month last year, according to Mind.