Citizens Advice helps hundreds of people with Mental Health problems in North Tyneside
The number of people in North Tyneside with mental health problems who use Citizens Advice reached 551 in 2017, while Citizens Advice across the country helped over 100,000 people who reported having a mental health problem.
Citizens Advice data shows clients with mental health problems are more likely to face multiple, complex problems compared to the average client. In 2017, clients with mental health problems had an average of 5.3 issues per client, compared to 3.8 problems per client overall.
This can be also seen in North Tyneside, where in 2017 people reporting mental health problems needed advice with an average of 6.4 separate issues compared to 5.7 issues for clients with other types of disabilities or long-term health problems, and 4.8 issues per client overall.
As well as having more complex issues, clients with mental health problems are also more likely to need Debt advice. 27% of our overall clients (and 27% of our disabled clients) had at least one debt issue in 2017, whereas 44% of clients with mental health issues needed debt advice.
48% of the issues experienced by people with mental health problems were also debt-related, compared to 37% for all disabled clients and 39% for clients overall.
The complex issues and financial difficulties experienced by people with mental health problems also lead to additional demands being placed on existing mental health services for help with these issues. A new survey from Citizens Advice found that mental health practitioners are spending more time on non-health related issues, such as debt or housing, during appointments compared to last year.
8 out of 10 mental health staff surveyed by the charity said that dealing with a patient’s practical issues left them with less clinical time to treat their mental health issues. Over half (57%) reported the proportion of time they are spending on non-health issues had increased compared to last year.
The most common problems mental health staff assisted with were debt and money problems, unemployment and work, housing and welfare. Mental health staff reported these problems had a negative impact on their patients’ ability to manage their mental health, complete a course of treatment and ultimately recover.
Citizens Advice is calling for advice services to be integrated in more mental health settings to alleviate the pressure on frontline mental health staff and to better support the needs of people with mental health problems.