63% of people in the UK are feeling anxious about the coronavirus crisis, yet only 8% have actually contacted their GP about it

VitaMinds, a free NHS mental health psychological talking therapy service provided by Vita Health Group, has today released new research revealing that 63% of people in the UK are feeling anxious about Covid-19, yet one in five are reticent to speak to a doctor for fear of wasting their time or being asked to attend the practice in person. The research, which surveyed 2000 adults in the UK, also found that only 8% of people who are feeling anxious have actually contacted their GP, whilst just 2% intend to contact their GP for help in the near future.

These results are particularly significant as the UK continues to see high rates of mental health issues, with Mind reporting that approximately one in four people in the UK now experience a mental health problem each year and one in six people in England experience a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. On top of this, how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing.

This new research proves particularly worrying because, if people in lockdown are avoiding seeing a doctor (either for fear of being asked to attend the surgery or because they don’t want to waste their GPs time), numbers of those who may become very vulnerable or high risk cases in the future could increase significantly, which could ultimately put more strain on the NHS down the line.

Other noteworthy results from the VitaMinds survey found:

  • More women than men report to be anxious about Covid-19 (68% of women, as opposed to 57% men);
  • The most anxious regions of the UK are reported to be East Anglia, North East and Wales;
  • The most anxious age group is reported to be 18-24, whilst those who are 55+ are feeling less anxious overall;

VitaMinds launches this research in parallel with the launch of its free NHS mental health psychological talking therapy service in three new locations across the UK; Kent and Medway, Calderdale and Derbyshire. This bolsters the already burgeoning service VitaMinds provides in Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, as well as Basildon and Brentwood.

The free service allows anyone who is feeling anxious, depressed, those who are lacking in motivation, or those with low mood to contact a support team online or over the phone for a virtual therapy session. From there, a VitaMinds therapist will talk to that individual and offer suggestions on next steps and provide them with the appropriate help they need.

Upon evaluating the research results, Jane Muston, Clinical Director at Vita Health Group, emphasised, “the key thing that we need to make clear here is that the NHS is still very much open for business. Our NHS services, in particular our GPs, are here to help everyone, and people must never feel that they are wasting their GPs time by contacting them about their mental health concerns. It is important that people do reach out to their GP, or other available support, if they have any fears around the current situation impacting their quality of life or their ability to carry out day to day activities within the current restriction

Muston continues:

“It’s a real concern, but understandable in the current situation, that a number of people are reluctant to contact their local NHS services. Using our VitaMinds service people can refer themselves on our website without needing to travel to their GP practice or have any face to face contact at all. Not only is the service totally free and 100% private and secure, but everything can be done over the phone or online, from initial consultation to treatment. We truly hope this provides some reassurance for those who are too nervous to go out right now and also help those who are shielding or self-isolating and cannot leave their houses during this challenging time.”