The national mental health charity has reported that one in three people are accessing their crisis service due to financial reasons – with a 196% increase in suicidal thoughts – with concerns that the ongoing rising costs of living will continue to make the situation worse.
Mental Health Concern, which, through its Together in a Crisis (TIAC) service, helps support people who are experiencing mental health crisis, has seen a 90% increase in overall referrals over the past six months. The charity is reporting that one in five people coming into the service are experiencing suicidal thoughts, a 196% increase on the previous six months, with many of those cases directly linked to the rising cost of living.
The charity provides practical help, including setting up food packages from food banks, as well as non-clinical support for anyone experiencing distress in their lives. Case workers who work in the TIAC team are seeing increased struggles because of rising costs, with several service users attempting suicide because of their financial worries.
One case worker from Mental Health Concern reports that out of the 28 clients she is working with, 25 are facing financial struggles, with 11 of those having tried to take their own life at some point.
One of these cases has told the charity, “I have the weight of the world on my shoulders” and has been advised by their GP to take time off work to take care of their mental health, but cannot afford to do so.
Another has been working 80-90 hours a week just to afford to live and has struggled with their mental health as a result of having COVID-19 and not being able to claim sick pay to cover their absence from work.
In light of this, Mental Health Concern is calling for more action by senior politicians to address the increasing pressure on its services as more people face mental health challenges as a result of the rising costs. The charity is working with MPs in the region to continue to put pressure on the Government to provide funding and support where it is needed most.
Adam Crampsie, Chief Executive of Mental Health Concern, said: “The latest figures to come out of the Together in a Crisis service are heart-breaking. We predicted last year that we would see an increase in demand for mental health support, and these figures reflect our biggest fears on the negative impact that rising costs are having people’s health and wellbeing.
“We know that people in the lowest 20% income bracket in Britain are two to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the highest. Our team is working around the clock to support people who are at their breaking point but only so much can be done on our own. Additional support from the Government is essential if we are to stop these numbers from increasing even more and, in the worst cases, seeing people lose their lives.”
Notes to Editors
DETAILS OF CASES FROM TIAC:
Case study 1: Female
Supported with finances. Was working as a delivery driver but found the increase in costs of petrol / living was impacting her mental health. Her mental health was declining where she was advised to take time off work by her GP to focus on her mental health. She felt as though this was not possible due to not being able to afford to live and struggling already working full time. Stated “ I have the weight of the world on my shoulders”. ST then tried to take her own life by taking an overdose in May 2022.
Supported to apply for PIP and has been awarded but is appealing for higher amount. Backdated money has helped from this but is now having issues with UC and is appealing this too. Will be supported by CTT and WL team.
Consent given verbally
Case study 2: Male
New client struggling with cost of living. Explained he is working 80-90 hours per week just to afford to live. Has had sick days due to COVID and is unable to get SSP from the company due to the laws being changed for companies to not have to pay this due to COVID.
He explained he has tried to take his own life in the past and grew up believing men don’t suffer with mental health.
Support around finances and mental health
Consent given verbally
Rundown of TIAC caseload:
- 28 clients active.
- 20 male.
- 8 female.
- 25 /28 affected financially
- 11/28 number of those affected financially who have tried to take their own life at some point in their life
- 5/28 number of those affected financially who have self-harmed at some point
- 23/28 number of those affected financially of clients who experience suicidal thoughts
Statistics from TIAC:
- So far in 2022 (January – June), 21% of referral (166 clients) have been referred with suicidal thoughts, and 8% (62 people) with self-harm
- From the last 12 months, 18% with suicidal thoughts (222 people) and 6% with self-harm (71 people)
- So far in 2022 (January – June). 29% (240) referrals were for general financial advice. 0.8% (6) specifically due to regularly accessing food banks and 14% (117) due to debt
- In the last 12 months, 33% were referred for financial advice (416) 0.9% for food banks (12) and 13% (166) due to debt.
About Mental Health Concern:
Mental Health Concern provides support in the community to improve the wellbeing of people who are struggling with issues in their day-to-day life.
We’re here to listen and support during the really hard times. We’re not here to diagnose, judge, or assume – we’re here to work alongside you and understand what needs to be done so you feel in control again.