July Emergency Budget: Mental health charities concerned about cuts to benefits of people with mental health problems

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Posted on 07/07/2015

A recent survey of people with mental health problems about benefits suggests that cuts could lead to greater costs down the line, with more people having to turn to other forms of support. In light of these new data and tomorrow's emergency budget, a group of leading mental health organisations are coming together to voice their concerns.

Rethink Mental Illness polled over 900 people with mental health problems receiving support from benefits. When asked what they thought would happen if this support was cut:

  • 78 per cent of respondents said they would need more support from their GP, community health services or inpatient mental health services
  • 87 per cent of respondents said they would not be able to sustain a good quality of life
  • 87 per cent of respondents said they would not be able to cover their household bills, accommodation and food costs
  • 69 per cent of respondents said they would find it harder to stay in/return to work and education
  • 67 per cent of respondents who were accessing benefits said they wanted to work or were looking for work, with 33 per cent stating that work was not possible for them at the moment.

In a joint statement, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, The Mental Health Foundation, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Centre For Mental Health, Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (NIAMH) and The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) said:

 

“We know that many people with mental health problems who are not in work would like to be, but face huge barriers because of the impact of their illness and the stigma and discrimination they often face from employers. Support from benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance simply enables people to cover their basic needs while concentrating on getting well. Ninety per cent of people we surveyed said benefits enable them to pay their household bills, accommodation costs or food bills."

 

“We are concerned that without this support, people on the way to recovery will suddenly come up against financial hardship and distress, and will have to access healthcare services for support instead, like their GP or local mental health teams."

 

“The danger is that money saved on welfare could then put pressure on the NHS and local services further down the line. We are calling on the Government to take into account the impact any cuts to benefits may have on people with mental health problems and for them to indicate how they will mitigate against these.”

 

-Ends-

 

About the data:

  • A total of 937 respondents answered the survey
  • 78% of respondents said they would need more support from their GP, community health services or inpatient mental health services

624 people in total responded to this question, with 485 people saying (to at least ONE of the three) that if they did not receive support from their benefits, the amount of support needed from their GP, community mental health service, inpatient care would increase.

  • 87% of respondents said they would not be able to sustain a good quality of life

624 people in total responded to this question, with 529 people saying that if they did not receive support from their benefits, their ability to sustain a good quality of life would decrease

  • 87% of respondents said they would not be able to cover their household bills, accommodation and food costs

624 people in total responded to this question, with 535 people saying that if they did not receive support from their benefits, their ability to cover house bills (like bills and rent) would decrease.

  • 69% of respondents said they would find it harder to stay in/return to work and education

624 people in total responded to this question, with 410 people saying that if they did not receive support from their benefits,  their ability to stay in work/education, or return to it, would decrease.

  • 67% of respondents who were accessing benefits said they wanted to work or were looking for work.

565 people in total responded to this question, with 376 people saying they wanted to work/were looking for work. (8.14% said they were currently looking for work and 58.41% said they were not working right now but were hoping to find work in the future, with the right support)

 

Categories: Benefits

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