More people were in contact with mental health services at Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust after the pandemic, new figures show.

It comes as mental health charity Mind said record high demand for services in England is not being met with enough investment.

As part of our ongoing series looking at the impact of the pandemic over the past four year, NHS figures from the annual Mental Health Bulletin report show about 85,465 people were in contact with mental health services at Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust in 2022-23.

It is up from 76,540 people the year before, and above the 63,175 who were in contact with services in 2019-20, before the pandemic.

The numbers are rounded and include those in contact with learning disabilities and autism services.

It follows the national trend where the number of people accessing mental health services has hit a record high. Nearly 3.6 million people were in contact with services last year, up 24% from 2.9 million in 2019-20.

Megan Pennell, Mind's public affairs and campaigns manager, said: "We know that the impact of the pandemic on the nation's mental health has been huge.

"Many of us with existing mental health problems felt our symptoms worsen while many others struggled with their mental health for the first time."

She said fears about becoming ill, loneliness during lockdowns and financial concerns were significant reasons the pandemic was difficult to cope with.

Young people, "racialised communities" and those living in poverty were disproportionately impacted, she added.

Across England, 1.1 million (31%) people in contact with mental health services last year were under 18 years of age.

It included some 23,360 children at Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust.

Ms Pennell said: "Despite the increased need, investment in mental health services has not risen in line with growing demand. Out-of-areas care, long waiting times and people being turned away because they are 'not unwell enough' are all commonplace.

"As a result, more and more people are only getting help once they reach crisis point."

The figures also showed the proportion of England's population in contact with mental health services has jumped from 5.1% before the pandemic to 6.3% in 2022-23.

Susan Solomon, senior research manager at the Mental Health Foundation, said Government investment into mental health services is urgent to address the impact of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis.

She added: "Whilst there are things we can do to protect our own wellbeing - activities like physical activity, spending time in nature and enjoying social connection – now more than ever we need action from the Government that protects the mental health of people across the UK."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We want to ensure that everyone gets the mental health support they need, and spending on mental health has increased by more than £4.5 billion in cash terms since 2018-19."

They added there was also an additional £500 million in 2021-22 to support people whose mental health was most affected by the pandemic, including young people, frontline staff and those with severe mental illness.

They said: "The number of children and young people under 18 supported through NHS-funded mental health services has gone up by 31% since March 2021, and we recently announced extra funding for early support hubs to help children and young people receive better mental health support across the country.

"These hubs offer early interventions to improve wellbeing before their condition escalates further, which will also reduce pressure on NHS services."