Will mental health services in Wakefield be able to cope with demand after coronavirus?
The NHS in Wakefield has set up a working group in a bid to ensure mental health services can cope with a huge post-Covid rise in demand.
The physical impact of the virus, along with lockdown restrictions and bereavement have all been identified as contributing factors to the strain on people's wellbeing.
Referrals to children's mental health services in the district have already spiked because of the pandemic, it was revealed last week.
On Tuesday, Wakefield s Mental Health Alliance said that a taskforce had been set up within the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to look at the issue.
The trust runs Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, as well as sites in Pontefract and Dewsbury.
The issue was raised at a board meeting of Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees local NHS services.
Dr Clive Harries, from Chapelthorpe Medical Centre, said: "Already we're seeing increasing amounts of psychological problems for people coming out the other end of Covid, whether they've had it themselves, whether they're experiencing post-Covid syndrome, or they're relatives of people who died from it, or indeed the impact of Covid on their every day lives.
"Are we confident we're going to have enough capacity to pick up that demand over the next year or so?"
Concerns were raised before Christmas that the amount of money available to local mental health services was inadequate.
Councillor Betty Rhodes, the chair of Wakefield's health scrutiny committee said that a £1m increase in funding was "not an uplift", when put into context by a decade of austerity.
But in response to Dr Harries on Tuesday, Mr Rayner said "That's a really important question and one we've started to take account of and address."
He added that the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust had set up a working group to "look at how we might ensure there is sufficient "psychological support" within the system.
He added: "We are taking account of it and actively addressing what we think the demand might be."
More than 85 per cent of people in Wakefield reported that the first lockdown had had an impact on their mental health, a Healthwatch survey revealed last June.
Nationwide restrictions have been imposed twice more since then.
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Where else can I access mental health support?
Wakefield's Turning Point talking therapy service can be contacted on 01924 234860 or by visiting https://talking.turning-point.co.uk/wakefield/refer-yourself/
Mind has coronavirus-specific advice and support here https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/