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UK – Mental health worsens as benefit cuts, unemployment and poor housing affect communities finds survey

Capture d’écran 2014-03-06 à 08.49.38 A survey of mental health social workers and professionals from a leading mental health charity has revealed a growing crisis in mental wellbeing as communities struggle with a combination of hardships including benefit changes, unemployment and poor housing.

The survey, undertaken jointly between the mental health charity Mind and The College of Social Work reveals a worrying picture of an increasing number of people trying to access mental health services as individuals become ‘overwhelmed by life circumstances’ at the same time as cuts in care budgets and funding are reducing their availability.

More than three quarters of mental health social workers and more than 90% of chief executives of local Minds who responded to the survey said that the mental health of people living in the communities where they work has got worse over the last 12 months. Over 90% of chief executives of local Minds said they have seen an increase in the number of people accessing mental health services over the last year with 73% experiencing people seeking services for the first time. More than one in five social workers reported seeing more people in crisis.

Social workers and the charity managers agreed that benefit cuts, unemployment and to a lesser extent poor housing were the main factors driving up the increase in demand for mental health services. More than 90% of Mind managers said benefit cuts and unemployment were partly responsible for the increase and 89% thought that poor housing was also playing a part.

Social workers said cuts to services and benefit cuts are now the main challenges to them helping people in need of mental health services. Nearly 60% of social workers said it is now either difficult or very difficult for people to access benefit advice and support.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Mind – Survey reveals people’s worsening mental health as benefit cuts, unemployment and poor housing affect communities.

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