A survey carried out by leading mental health charities, Mind and The College of Social Work has revealed a growing crisis in mental well-being as communities struggle with a combination of hardships.
Unemployment, poor housing and changes to benefits are just a few of the difficult life circumstances in Britain today that are the driving force behind more and more people accessing mental health services.
The survey collected responses from mental health social workers and professionals working in local Minds around the country who both reported a significant deterioration in the mental health of local communities in which they work.
In fact, more than three quarters of mental health social workers, and more than 90% of chief executives said that the mental health of people has got worse in the past year.
Nearly 60% of social workers also highlighted that it is now either difficult or very difficult for people to access the benefit advice and support they need to cope with accumulating life hardships.
Dr Ruth Allen, Chair of the Mental Health faculty of The College of Social Work said:
“This survey again highlights what many social workers see as a deterioration in access to support for mental health problems, as reductions in social care and health bite. At the same time, social and financial pressures associated with poverty and poor housing seem to be mounting and are cited increasingly by social workers as reasons for mental distress and ill health.”
Dr Allen went on to explain that while it is enshrined in law that mental health services should have parity with physical health services – in most areas this is not yet a reality.
“We must achieve a better balance between mental health and other conditions. We need to integrate the use of available resources more effectively and promote the specialist skills provided by social workers in helping people to build and maintain their resilience.”