More people were using NHS mental health services across Morecambe Bay in July than at the same point last summer, figures show.
NHS digital figures show around 8,870 people were in contact with mental health services in the NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group area at the end of July.
This was an increase of 16% from 7,670 at the same point last year, though it was fewer than the 8,950 at the end of June.
Chris Wood, the development manager of Cumbrian suicide prevention charity Every Life Matters, said: “It has been recognised throughout the pandemic that the impact on Mental Health could be significant and far reaching and these figures seem to validate these concerns.
“Reasons for increased usage of mental health services will be multiple and complex.
“Some people will be more inclined to reach out to mental health services in recent months as they feel the NHS is not as pressured – in the early stages of lockdown we saw huge drops in the numbers of people seeking support. For others the easing of lockdown, combined with the social and economic impact of the crisis, will heighten mental health issues.
“We know that the majority of people remained resilient and coped well through lockdown, but some have increasingly struggled.
“People with existing mental and physical health issues, those in low or no income households or with caring responsibilities have been particularly impacted and will continue to be impacted.”
The majority (71%) of those in contact with mental health services in Morecambe Bay at the end of July were adults – 6,265.
There were also 1,915 children using mental health services for young people, and 965 people in contact with learning disabilities and autism services in the area.
Mr Wood said: “We would urge people to seek help early by going to their GP. Be as frank as possible about how you feel and know that there are other sources of help out there if you are waiting for support.
“We would also encourage everyone to continue to check in with those around us.”
For more information about local and national services see www.every-life-matters.org.uk/get-help