Record referrals

The Royal College of Psychiatrists ensured mental health remained in the spotlight during March.

The College’s analysis that revealed a record 4.3 million referrals to mental health services in England was picked up by 399 media outlets across the UK including BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC News Online, ITV news, ITV’s This Morning programme, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Sun and The Mirror. The analysis also informed influential commentaries a few days later in the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. The total estimated audience reach was 50.2 million.

The sheer scale of referrals proved sufficient to secure space in a media cycle otherwise dominated by the war in Ukraine. The coverage also included a call from Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, for “a fully funded plan for mental health services, backed by a long-term workforce plan, as the country comes to terms with the biggest hit to its mental health in generations.”

The purpose of this media release was to continue to pressure the Government to publish a fully-funded mental health recovery plan to reduce waiting times for patients in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care provided the following response to journalists covering the story:

"We are committed to ensuring everyone is able to access the help and advice they need, which is why we are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2023/24, on top of the £500 million we have made available to address the impact of the pandemic. We will be launching a national conversation to inform the development of a new long-term mental health plan later this year."

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