Calls to mental health charity reveal human cost of recession
Monday 21 May 2012
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
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...