The number of people having suicidal thoughts has tripled under lockdown, as Reform UK party leader Nigel Farage warned that lockdowns meant to stop the spread of coronavirus were proving to be detrimental to other aspects of Britons’ health.
Data by the Royal College of Psychiatrists seen by The Telegraph has revealed that the number of people seeking support for suicidal thoughts went from 80,298 to 232,271.
A similar increase was seen with those with anxiety disorders, going from 73,456 to 210,931, and those needing help for self-harm more than tripled, from 16,920 to 56,418. Referrals for eating disorders have also seen a 30 per cent rise.
Six in ten psychiatrists say that they have seen an increase in the number of emergency callouts, including to cases where people need to be sectioned for their own wellbeing. There were also a record number of referrals for beds in mental health units, with a 19 per cent rise in people detained for psychiatric treatment.
The revelations come after London’s ambulance service reported that suicides or attempted suicides had doubled on the same period last year, pointing to coronavirus restrictions exasperating mental health issues.
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Several reports last month also revealed other medical costs of the lockdown. During the first three months of the first lockdown, organ transplants fell by two-thirds, resulting in the number of those dying on the waiting list to nearly double.
In April, there was a two-thirds drop in hospital chemotherapy attendance, while urgent referrals for early cancer diagnosis fell by up to 89 per cent.
Between March and May in England, some 50,000 children’s surgeries were cancelled. While a report from last week revealed that stillbirths nearly doubled during the first lockdown, sparking an inquiry and concerns messages to “protect the NHS” may have put off expectant mothers from seeking medical help.
Rates of depression and anxiety also doubled, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Speaking about the lockdown on Monday, Reform Party leader Nigel Farage called the “cure” to coronavirus — the lockdown — is “worse than the disease”.
“We known that lung cancer diagnoses are down 75 per cent, we know heart [disease] diagnoses are massively down. We know that all over the country, Type 1 diabetics have not been screened at all since March.
“When you add up the total health cost of stopping surgery, stopping diagnosis, clearing out the National Health Service in case a huge wave of [coronavirus] infections come, you see that the cure is indeed worse than the disease itself,” Mr Farage said.
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