Mental health minister Nadine Dorries says lockdown wasn't doom and gloom for everyone

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
Nadine Dorries: Lockdown 'wasn’t all doom and gloom'. (Stefan Rousseau/pool)
Nadine Dorries: Lockdown 'wasn’t all doom and gloom'. (Getty Images)

Mental health minister Nadine Dorries has insisted coronavirus lockdowns have not been “doom and gloom” for everyone.

Dorries said the true outlook of lockdown life has not been reflected by negative media reporting.

Office for National Statistics figures released last month suggested 21% of adults in Britain experienced some form of depression between January and March, more than double the number recorded before the pandemic.

Domestic abuse charity Refuge, meanwhile, reported a 60% increase in calls to its helpline.

Demand for eating disorder services has also risen by 22% in the past 11 months, and Dorries acknowledged the government is playing “catch-up” when it comes to mental health provision.

Watch: Nadine Dorries says there has been a significant rise in need for eating disorder services

However, she also pointed to families which “enjoyed lockdown”.

Dorries told MPs at the House of Commons health and social care committee on Tuesday: “I know the outlook about the pandemic and the impact on mental health, if you read the media, is all doom and gloom.

“In fact, some people, particularly families, actually reported an improvement in mental health and improvements in wellbeing.

“Some people surprisingly enjoyed lockdown with their children for a year, so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.”

Dorries, who was the first MP to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in March last year, also warned not to label the current generation of children as suffering with mental health issues, saying “we really need to acknowledge that we have a very strong, resilient generation”.

MPs heard separately that about 40% of children and young people with mental health issues were accessing services.

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Prof Tim Kendall, national clinical director for mental health at NHS England, said services take self-harm very seriously, but the vast majority of cases do not come to their attention.

It comes after NHS England announced a £40m mental health funding boost for children "hit hard" by lockdowns.

Watch: A crisis in children's mental health care

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