PEOPLE in crisis were referred for urgent or emergency mental health support in part of the region more than 1,700 times in just a month, figures show.

NHS Digital data shows in May, crisis teams at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust received around 1,755 urgent new referrals, including 710 potentially life-threatening emergency cases.

Some 50 children were among those needing emergency help, while another 100 youngsters were the subject of urgent referrals.

At the end of the same month, there were roughly 42,580 people already subject to crisis care plans managed by the trust.

Crisis teams, which offer an alternative to hospital admission where appropriate, are usually made up of experienced mental health staff and may include psychiatrists, social workers and nurses.

They step in to help where someone is considered to be experiencing a mental health crisis and may otherwise be admitted for inpatient support.

New referrals made on an urgent or emergency basis to Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Trust’s crisis teams in May were down from the 1,875 recorded in May 2020 and higher than the 1,695 received in 2019.

Leila Reyburn, from Mind, said the pandemic had affected the scale and severity of mental health problems across the nation, with more people experiencing issues for the first time and those with pre-existing problems requiring more urgent and acute treatment.

A spokesperson at the trust, said: “During the pandemic we continued to offer mental health services to people of all ages across County Durham, Darlington, Teesside and North Yorkshire.

“We offered virtual and face-to-face appointments where possible and we introduced a 24 hour crisis support line to ensure that anyone of any age in mental distress, including children and older people, could access support.

“We know the impact that COVID-19 and lockdown can have on people’s mental health and if you feel your mental health is being affected, please seek help and support as soon as possible.

“Further advice on what to do in a mental health crisis and telephone support numbers can be found at”