Doctors say COVID pressure and social media increase mental health problems | UK News

The combination of pandemic pressures and social media is increasing mental health problems, including eating disorders, among young people.

An NHS trust in west London says its referrals to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) have increased by 140 per cent.

Lizzie, a former patient at West London NHS Trust, developed anorexia as a teenager after struggling with anxiety and depression at the age of 12.

She said: “I remember being alone a lot at school. I was always really sociable. And then when I started having these problems, I remember sitting alone a lot. Having lunch a myself, becoming more and more withdrawn from the things I used to do.”

Lizzie, who is currently studying to become a doctor, said her behavior has become increasingly withdrawn and has not been detected by her family or teachers at school.

Lizzie, a former patient at West London NHS Trust
Lizzie suffered from anorexia in her teens after struggling with anxiety and depression

When Lizzie turned 15, her anorexia got so bad that she was hospitalized for 10 weeks of life-saving treatment. That was the first time Lizzie realized how sick she really was.

She said: “Up until that point, I was active. I was at school, I was still a good student, and you know, none of my friends or nobody really knew, so so i was active.

“I walked in with my mom and dad and immediately the first person I saw had a huge head injury. And that was the first time I actually saw it, and I was a bit taken aback.

“And then I remembered another patient there, who had his entire arm amputated, and there would be alarms and people had to hold back. And that was just incredibly distressing. I remember the first night. in the hospital and I just had my first meal there.”

She continued: “I remember it was sausage and mash, and I hadn’t eaten it in four years. And then there was the pastry for dessert and I remember eating that and weirdly really feeling pretty good. proud of myself, but I called my parents later in the evening, I remember just crying to them, come get me.

“I was absolutely terrified. There’s no doubt about it. Honestly, that night when I called my parents… it was the worst time of my life.”


More than a million Britons have an eating disorder

An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, and it claims more lives than any other mental condition.

A new report from the Joint Health and Social Care Commission has called for more to be done to regulate “commercial image” doctoral work that includes changes in body proportions or skin color, so they required to wear the logo so viewers know they have been digitally altered.

The commission also wants more control over non-surgical cosmetic procedures, such as Botox injections, including a licensing program for providers, minimum training standards, and pause periods. between consent and process provision.

NHS digital data shows that the proportion of children and young adults in the UK who are likely to have eating problems has risen dramatically since 2017 – from 6.7% to 13% among 11-year-olds. 16 years old and from 44.6% to 58.2% at 17 to 19 years old. -age.

In 2020/21, the NHS has seen an 83% increase in demand for emergency eating disorder services and a 41% increase in routine services.

The data also shows that from April to October 2021, there were 4,238 cases of children aged 17 and under hospitalized for eating disorders, an increase of 41% over the same period last year.

Dr. Derek Tracy
Dr Derek Tracy said the need for access to mental health treatment has increased dramatically

‘It’s been as busy as I’ve seen in my career’

Dr Derek Tracy, medical director at West London NHS Trust, said he had never seen such a high demand for access to mental health treatment.

He said: “It’s been as busy as I’ve seen in my career. No doubt we’re in a different position than where we were in the country about three years ago. The numbers are growing. up, they’re in all age groups and in all types of presentation.

“I mean, the obvious thing to think about is the pandemic. I know that’s a natural suspect, but it seems to be driving a lot of this. You can think of all the things that happen with the pandemic. Translate.

“Isolation is on the rise, working from home is great for some people. It’s not for others. And I think our way of life has changed, and that’s a worrying moment. Worryingly, people will have a loved one who is sick, possibly with COVID or itself.

“And these things seem to have come together in a perfect storm and cause some mental health anxiety.”

He added: “There is concern at the moment that is social media, its role, how people see themselves, how they interact with the world. The number is there, in this part of the world. London, they are increasing across regions and across the country.”

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