Doctors are seeing a rise in people reporting severe mental health difficulties, a group of NHS leaders says.

It follows a more than 30% drop in referrals to mental health services during the peak of the pandemic.

But there are predictions that the recent rise will mean demand actually outstrips pre-coronavirus levels - perhaps by as much as 20%.

The NHS Confederation said those who needed help should come forward.

But the group, which represents health and care leaders, said in a report that mental services required "intensive support and investment" in order to continue to be able to help those who needed it.

The NHS Confederation's mental health lead, Sean Duggan, said that when coronavirus cases were at their highest, people stayed away from services, as they did from other parts of the NHS.

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