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One in two people with mental health problems feel suicidal

7 April 2016

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One in two people with mental health problems have felt suicidal because of housing, cash or benefits issues and may need more tailored support to help them tackle their concerns, a charity said.

The survey was commissioned by mental health charity Mind as it launches a five-year campaign, Life Support, to highlight the importance of community services offering advice, information and social contact for people with mental health problems.

You Gov surveyed more than 1,500 people who used mental health services in the last two years for the charity.

Out of 1,022 respondents who had attempted or considered suicide, 41% said financial or housing pressures had pushed them to the brink.

Twenty-nine per cent said the fear of losing or loss of benefits had affected them, and 29% said losing their job or facing difficulties at work had an impact.

 A quarter cited relationship breakdown as a contributory factor in their suicidal thoughts.

Mind said community services were under threat with local authorities facing tough choices over spending and £18 billion cuts to services since 2010.

The charity’s director of external relations Sophie Corlett said: “Good community support services can help people with mental health problems stay well, avoid crisis and remain connected to their community. But this type of support is under threat and getting harder to find.”

Social issues such as money worries, housing and benefits issues were more likely to affect people with mental health problems, said Corlett, but the tailored help they need is no longer available.

This can lead to their lives spiraling out of control, she warned.

She added: “We welcome the increased investment in mental health within the health service, but there’s still a lack of recognition that mental heath can be as much a social issue as a clinical one.”

She said unless underlying social issues are addressed, which could have a bigger impact on people’s lives than treatment or therapy, potential benefits from health services could be undermined.

It’s vital that local commissioners and decision-makers act now to protect and improve these community services.”