THERE is a “major risk” that the coming weeks will see a spike in mental health issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report has claimed.

A report going to Bradford Council’s Executive next week says increased pressure on many workers, isolation and concerns over health and job security will lead to many seeking support for mental health issues as lockdown eases.

Titled “Building a Better Future” the report looks at the many different impacts of Covid-19, and how they are likely to alter the District in the coming weeks, months and years.

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It reveals that although the death toll of Covid-19 has been lower than expected in Bradford, but that care homes have been hit “much harder than anticipated.”

New figures that will be presented to the Executive show that even at its peak, registered deaths in Bradford attributed to Covid 19 made up just under a quarter of overall deaths.

But the figures also show that the numbers of people registered as dying from respiratory illness, not specifically Covid-19, and dementia was also much higher than normal.

In the week beginning March 16, before the pandemic really hit Bradford, 64 deaths were registered in the Bradford district – 17 of respiratory illness, seven from cancer, 19 from cardiovascular illness and 21 from other illnesses (non-Covid).

Just a month later, on the week beginning April 13, 214 deaths were registered in Bradford.

These included 51 from Covid-19, 69 from respiratory illness, 16 from cancer, 21 from cardiovascular illness, 12 from dementia and 45 from other causes.

The report says some of these non-Covid deaths are likely to be linked with the virus, even if they are not directly attributed to it.

It says: “Analysis of all causes of death has shown more deaths from respiratory illness and other causes, mainly frailty, than we would have expected compared to the same time period last year.

“Increases in deaths classified as from respiratory causes could have been COVID 19 related given it is a virus that causes respiratory symptoms.”

Members will be told that the majority of Coronavirus deaths in Bradford (66.7 per cent) have happened in hospital.

However, an increasing number are happening in the District’s care homes – 127 to date (27.3 per cent).

The report says: “Whilst any death is a tragedy the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid 19 have been much lower than was anticipated both nationally and locally.

“However, Care Homes have been hit much harder than expected. Care Homes are now our biggest concern locally and nationally. In Bradford just over 20 per cent of care homes are dealing with cases of COVID 19, as of May 26 there have been a total of 240 confirmed cases in residents and a total of 195 care home staff that have tested positive.”

On the week beginning April 20 there were 98 registered deaths in Bradford care homes – up from just 12 on the week of March 16.

The Executive will also hear that the lockdown and pandemic is having a big impact on people’s mental health. The report says: “Anecdotally, calls to the District’s network of community hubs suggest that the lockdown period has had an adverse impact on mental health for many. The police have a car patrolling with a ‘mental health nurse’ supporting and have seen an increase in work in this area.

“The intensity of working, uncertainty and isolation has had consequences for mental health.

“In terms of public and voluntary sector staff, the stress for those working on the front line is being compensated by their immense engagement and focus on protecting vulnerable people, however some services are reporting an increase in mental health issues and staff are being supported to address these issues.

“There is a major risk is that in the next few weeks and months we will see an increase in mental health issues, which will require treatment and support.”

The Executive meets remotely next Tuesday (June 9) at 10.30am.