Mental health: data backs up concerns over services

The last three months have seen more worrying reports of the pressure mental health services are under as a system that was struggling before the pandemic now tries to cope with a surge in requests for support.

In early January 2022, NHS Digital data showed the dramatic surge in demand for services for eating disorders with hospital admissions up by 41% in a year, leading to widespread concern that the NHS can no longer treat every child with an eating disorder.

The provisional data for April to October 2021 showed there were 4,238 hospital admissions for children aged 17 and under, up 41% from 3,005 in the same period in 2020, and up 69% on the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

There has been a rise in admissions for eating disorders for all age groups, up 13% in the financial year 2020-21 compared to 2019-20. The most recent data from April to October 2021 shows 15,941 admissions so far among all age groups, which could result in 2021-22 being the highest year yet for people needing inpatient treatment.

Full story in The Lowdown, 21 January 2022