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The impact of Covid-19 on access to psychological services

Jack Purrington (Clinical Psychology Unit, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Nigel Beail (Barnsley Adult Learning Disability Health Service, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley, UK and Clinical Psychology Unit, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 4 August 2021

Issue publication date: 8 September 2021

172

Abstract

Purpose

The novel coronavirus and associated mitigation efforts have produced barriers to accessing services for adults with intellectual disabilities. This paper aims to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on access to psychological services. The paper evaluates monthly referral rates and psychological distress scores for service users awaiting therapy.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative service evaluation was completed in a psychology service based in the North of England which specialises in supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. A single case experimental design was used to examine the impact of events in March 2020 on referral rates. Descriptive statistics and effect size calculations were used to examine the impact of prolonged waiting times on psychological distress scores.

Findings

Referral rates were examined comparing a 5-year rolling average monthly referral rate for the 12 months prior to March 2020 with the 12 months following. Findings demonstrate that events starting in March 2020 have had a considerable impact on referral rates and rates have not recovered. Eight service users were contacted to determine the impact of prolonged waiting times with results demonstrating increases in psychological distress of large effect size.

Originality/value

This is the only paper the authors are aware of examining the impact of the coronavirus on access to services and psychological distress for adults with intellectual disabilities. It is hoped that these findings will be able to inform both policy and practice as services continue to navigate the pandemic.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.Conflict of interests: No conflict of interest to report.

Citation

Purrington, J. and Beail, N. (2021), "The impact of Covid-19 on access to psychological services", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 119-131. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-03-2021-0017

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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