Our research and development team were commissioned by the London Urgent and Emergency Care Clinical Network to review evidence to understand the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on why people present to crisis services.

In our review we also explore the impact of the pandemic on mental health services.

Key findings

Key findings from the review showed during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • During lockdown overall people experienced poorer mental health but this improved with easing restrictions
  • Some groups were more affected than others and are likely to experience longer lasting effects. These are:
    • young adults
    • women
    • ethnic minority groups
    • those living with a physical or mental health condition
    • those living with children
    • people with lower household incomes.
  • Widespread disruption to mental health services early on, particularly for children and young people and older adults
  • Increase in people presenting at A&E for psychosis or mania and cognitive impairment
  • Increase in presentations related to substance misuse as reported by international studies
  • More men and those previously not known to mental health services were admitted for mental healthcare

In the future there is likely to be:

  • An accumulation of mental health demand, particularly from at risk groups
  • More people presenting with higher levels of anxiety and depression and with severe mental illnesses that require specialist care.

How to use the review

Findings from the studies review can be used to support decision making in shaping how care pathways are better able to meet the changing needs of people presenting in crisis.

Findings also emphasise the importance of streamlined working between primary care, community and secondary mental health services and where extra support is needed, with special consideration to how community services can be expanded and more effectively used to manage increased mental health demand.