Mental health charities across the country have criticised the government for failing to recognise the risk the cost of living crisis poses for the public’s mental wellbeing.
In a letter to the government, 17 leading charities warned they were already seeing the impact of the cost of living on people’s mental health.
Samaritans said it had received 12,000 calls from people mentioning finance or unemployment concerns in July alone.
The intervention comes as The Independent reported on Wednesday a warning from NHS leaders that rising bills would lead to a “huge” mental health crisis.
Mind, the mental health charity, said it has seen a 30 per cent increase in calls related to cost of living concerns compared to last year.
Young Minds, a charity for children and their parents, said for the first time that “worries about money” was found to be the top concern for people.
The letter said: “The nation’s mental health services were already stretched, and the pandemic has pushed them to breaking point. With over 1.5 million people currently on a waiting list, the cost of living crisis could put our entire mental health system on the brink of collapse, leaving people that are already struggling without the support they need.”
It calls for inventions to be put in place immediately and for the government to commit again to producing a mental health plan and national suicide prevention strategy.
It added: “Adequately supporting those on the lowest incomes, who are most at risk of experiencing mental health problems and are at higher suicide risk, is imperative right now.”
Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind and member of the Mental Health Leaders Group, said: “In the last few months, we’ve become increasingly concerned at the absence of mental health in debates and plans about the cost of living crisis.
“Our mental health system has already been pushed to its absolute limits by the coronavirus pandemic and years of chronic underfunding. But this cost of living crisis, which we know is having a huge impact on people’s mental health, has the potential to force services to the brink of collapse.”
“People with mental health problems would appreciate if Boris Johnson and the next prime minister were to listen when we tell you that we need to see action, and we need it now.”