An NHS survey has revealed the toll the Covid-19 has taken on south Londoners’ mental health.

Almost half of the 577 people asked said they have experienced depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while 42 percent reported feelings of anxiety.

However, the numbers of people accessing support for such conditions barely rose over the last 15 months, as 48 percent said they did not know how to seek help.  

Three NHS mental health trusts – South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and South West London and St George’s NHS Trust – commissioned the research ahead of the South London Listens summit in mid-June.

The summit will bring together organisations, councils, and South London residents, to agree on the steps needed to address the impact of the pandemic.

The survey also highlighted a range of issues around job security, financial worries, schooling and access to green spaces.

This corresponds with wider feedback from community sessions that have recorded the challenges faced by more than 5,700 people during the pandemic.

Many respondents, particularly those aged 18-34 and people with a disability or long-term condition, have experienced feelings of loneliness (76%), isolation (78%) and powerlessness (81%) since the start of the pandemic.

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This cruel pandemic has affected so many of the people we serve in many different ways. We must ensure that our response meets the scale of this challenge. And that it addresses both the mental health problems many have experienced and the underlying issues contributing to those problems.

“We all hope this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so if anyone was ever going to get involved in helping to plan local services now is that time.”

People can register here for the summit, which will be held from 6pm-8pm on June 16.