There has been an increased demand on services which provide specialist mental health care to those in need in the region due to the pandemic.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), which provides NHS care in the community and covers a wide range of mental health services, has admitted it has seen an increase in requests for help.

Interim chief operating officer at NSFT, Amy Eagle said: "The pandemic has inevitably had an impact on the nation’s mental health and we are experiencing an increase in demand for specialist mental health support.

"Our staff are working tirelessly to respond but unfortunately some people are waiting longer than we would want.

"We’re working with our partners across health and care, including voluntary sector organisations, to ensure people are able to receive care from the correct service, increasing the number of mental health practitioners working in primary care, fast tracking GP referrals to Wellbeing services and piloting a mental health first response car to support people in crisis."

4YP, also known as Suffolk Young People's Health Project, is a local charity that provides and coordinates services for the benefit of physical and mental health in young people in Suffolk.

It has also seen an increase in the need for mental health care in the region.

4YP Wellbeing clinical manager Nancy Merfield said: "We saw a need to support young people with their overall wellbeing long before the first lockdown and we have seen that demand remain and grow for all of our counselling and youth work services throughout the pandemic.

"It is important for parents, carers, and young people to know that there are things they can do to support their mental health, even if, as is very likely at the moment, they are waiting for services, including digital platforms such as who offer moderated forums and chat functions.

"Other apps like CalmHarm, MoodMove, HeadSpace, and Calm offer mindfulness-based self-help for self-harm, depression, and anxiety. YoungMinds and ChildLine also offer advice and support and the Samaritans will listen 24 hours a day and can be reached on 116 123. Those in crisis needing urgent mental health support should call the NHS First Response Service on 0808 196 3494."

Links to both 4YP and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust can be found below:

4YP (Suffolk Young People's Health Project)

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust