Calls to mental health charity reveal human cost of recession

High unemployment rates and rising living costs have led to a surge in calls to a leading mental health charity which is struggling to cope with demand.

Mind's infoline dealt with more than 40,000 calls in the past 12 months, but an unprecedented high volume meant two in every five calls went unanswered. The number of people seeking advice about personal finances and employment has doubled since the start of the financial slump in mid-2008.

The causal link between economic depression and mental health problems is well established, though Britain has thus far been spared from the rise in suicide seen in Greece and Ireland, where the financial collapse has been felt most acutely. The suicide of Dimitris Christoulas, 77, in Athens last month led to much soul searching, after his note said he could no longer live with dignity on a pension cut to the bone.

Mind's infoline, which provides advice ranging from how to access treatment to managing debts, dealt with 18 per cent more calls between October 2011 and April 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier. Calls to its legal line increased by 28 per cent. There are signs the impact of the ongoing crisis is spreading to previously unaffected families, with more and more employed people reliant on food handouts.

Mind's figures come as the country prepares for a double-dip recession and at least another year of pay freezes, and precarious employment. Yet many mental health groups face an uncertain future due to cuts. Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "Dealing with this is a job for everyone, government, employers and charities, as getting Britain out of recession is as much about the mental health of the workforce as it is about economics."

Stress, depression and anxiety already cost the economy £30bn every year. This could be cut by a third if employers improved the way they dealt with workplace stress and mental ill-health.

Francoise, 49, a customer services co-ordinator at a blue chip company, became depressed about 18 months ago due to mounting work pressures. Poor concentration and anxiety made coping with work difficult until she reached breaking point last June. But with support from Mind, a therapist, medication and a psychiatric nurse, she will soon return to work.

Health minister Simon Burns said: "We are boosting funding for talking therapies by £400m over four years from April 2011. This will ensure that evidence-based therapies are available to all who need them."

Mounting pressure: depression in the UK

£30bn: Cost of mental health to England's economy every year

1 in 6: Number of adults experiencing mental health problems at any one time

46.7m antidepressant prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists in 2011

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power