Debt, housing and welfare causing mental illness


Almost a  half (46%) of people with mental health problems have considered or attempted to end their own lives as a result of social factors such as debt, housing and welfare problems or relationship breakdown in the last two years, according to a new survey by the charity Mind.

Similarly in research carried out last year, Turn2us found that one in two low income households are struggling to afford their energy costs, despite being in work. The knock-on effect is severe, with over a fifth (21%) experiencing stress and other mental health problems.


In Mind’s survey of people who had used mental health services in the last two years, of those who had considered or attempted suicide; 41% had financial and/ or housing pressure and 29% stated fear of losing or the loss of welfare benefits. 29% of those surveyed cited job loss or difficulties at work and 25%stated relationship breakdown as a contributory factor.

The mental health charity has launched a five year campaign, ‘Life Support’ to highlight the importance of community services that provide advice, information and social contact for people with mental health problems.
These services help people to overcome difficult social issues that can impact on mental health but many of them are under threat of closure due to local authority spending cuts. Local authorities have had their budgets cut by £18 billion in real terms since 2010.

‘Help people with mental health problems stay well’

The charity is urging local commissioners and decision-makers to act now to protect and improve these community services.

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind said: “Good community support services can help people with mental health problems stay well, avoid crisis, and remain connected to their community.

“People with mental health problems are far more likely than the rest of the population to experience social issues - such as money, housing and benefits issues – and may need more tailored support to help them address these issues – support that often is no longer available. This can lead to huge personal and financial costs, as people’s lives spiral out of control, to the point where some people are considering suicide.”

Turn2us help

If you are ill, injured or disabled, the ‘Ill, injured or have a disability’ section of the Turn2us website has information about ways you might be able to get help. This includes information on Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance.

You can also check your benefit entitlement using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator or find out whether you are eligible for charitable grant using our Turn2us Grants Search.

The Turn2us Your Situation online section contains resources such as managing money, including useful links and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

You may also find further information and support from Mind and the Samaritans useful.

Source: Mind press release: One in two people with mental health problems have felt suicidal because of money, housing or benefits issues