Surge in calls show people need Mind more than ever
Posted Monday 21 May 2012
Mind has seen a surge in demand for its helplines with calls to its Infoline and Legal line up 18 per cent and 28 per cent respectively between October and April 2011-12, compared with the same period in 2010-11.
The Mind Infoline and Legal line help people experiencing mental health problems, or their loved ones, who are in urgent need of information and guidance. People call the lines with a wide range of enquiries, from advice on where to seek mental health care, to information about medications and the rights of patients in psychiatric hospital.
The national advice service is used more than any other mental health information and support line in England and Wales and is available five days a week. It responded to over 40,000 contacts 1 in 2011-12 but still struggled to meet the huge demand from callers with 40 per cent of calls going unanswered.
Calls have steadily increased to the Mind Infoline since the service opened over 20 years ago and, since the start of the recession, advisors have seen an increase of 100% on calls on both personal finances and employment.
This growing demand reflects the situation across the charity’s 166 local Minds throughout England and Wales which in 2010-11 helped support almost 250,000 people with mental health problems, offering services such as counselling, debt advice and supported housing.
However, local Minds are under increasing pressure as the challenging funding environment means they must look to diversify their services and income streams while more people are also turning to them for support.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
Mental wellbeing can depend on a wide variety of factors, from employment status and working conditions, to financial security. 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 Mind has to offer.
We are working hard to meet this demand and the Mind network offers a formidable range of services staffed by thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers. Mind has the advantage of offering a holistic approach to mental health, choice of a range of services, as well as invaluable peer to peer support.
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.
For many people Mind’s Infoline is their first port of call for advice when they just don’t know where to turn. We want to be able to answer every cry for help but sadly last year 40 per cent of calls to our Infoline went unanswered.
An additional Infoline advisor can help us meet this rising demand and we urge people to support Mind in any way they can. Mind relies on donations to help people struggling to cope and our services really do have the power to change lives.
Sandra received support from Tyneside Mind after being treated for cancer and depression. She said:
I believe the help and support I received from Tyneside Mind played a major part in my recovery. The life lessons I have learnt will stay with me and help me if I ever suffer depression again.
Since I first went to Mind my mental health has transformed: I have been involved in several courses such as a stress-management programme and a back to work class. I have also taken huge pleasure from the gardening group, and my physical fitness also improved from the health walks that they organise once a month.
I am now well on the road to recovery and feel the best I have ever felt. Last year I even started a new full time job, as an administrator.
Mind’s Infoline is on 0300 123 3393 and the Legal Line is on 0300 466 6463. The helplines are open Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm.
Notes to editors:
- We’re Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. www.mind.org.uk
- Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.