THE number of people in York who have sought help from mental health services has increased year on year.

In July this year, 7,125 people were in contact with mental health services in the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group area, compared to 6,470 in July 2020.

Across England over the same period, there has been a nine per cent increase in people contacting mental health services.

Mental health charity Mind is calling for the Government to prioritise mental health services, as the pandemic has impacted access to support and led to a backlog in care.

Leila Reyburn, the policy and campaigns manager at Mind said: “Even before the pandemic, mental health services were playing catch up after decades of underfunding,

“Now is the time for decision makers to put their money where their mouths are and prioritise the mental health of the nation.”

A Vale of York CCG spokesperson said: “It is really positive that more people feel that they can reach out for help. Mental health services can be accessed through a variety of ways, from self-referrals for counselling, or through primary care.”

Sixty per cent of those seeking help in the York area were adults, although more than 2,000 were children.

A £500 million Mental Health Recovery Action Plan was initiated by the Department for health and social care in March 2021, to expand upon services to treat those with all mental health problems, from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

A spokesperson from the Department of health and social care said: “Covid-19 has affected everyone in the UK, and community and crisis services have continued to provide support throughout the pandemic, with digital face to face appointments.”