Recession prompts rise in calls to mental health lines

Stressed and anxious woman Anxieties over jobs and finances are increasing calls to charities' helplines

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Mental health charity Mind says there has been a surge in calls to its helplines since the start of the recession.

Advisors at the charity say calls about personal finance and employment issues have doubled since 2008.

Calls on all topics to the charity's helplines increased by up to 28% this year compared to last.

Mind says 40% of calls are going unanswered because of demand, and warns there are funding issues.

The national service is available five days a week.

The charity says calls to its five-day-a week infoline and legal lines have steadily increased since the service opened over 20 years ago.

In 2011-2012 it responded to over 40,000 enquiries.

'Growing need'

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said people's mental wellbeing was being affected by factors like job security, working conditions and financial security.

Start Quote

The era of austerity shows little sign of abating and more and more people need our help.”

End Quote Paul Farmer Mind

"All of these can be affected during tough economic times and, as we head back into recession, we are seeing an ever growing need for what we have to offer.

"The era of austerity shows little sign of abating and more and more people need our help.

"At the same time the local Mind network is facing the challenging situation of increased demand for services and potential cuts to funding."

Another mental health charity, SANE, confirmed that it had also noted the impact of the recession on its services.

Marjorie Wallace, SANE's chief executive, said: "There has been a disturbing increase in the number of people with depression and anxiety due to financial uncertainty contacting our helpline for information and emotional support.

"They report that their fears about losing their jobs and being unable to find work are making them ill.

"They are finding themselves getting into debt, and because they are depressed, feel increasingly unable to face the future."

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