The recession has led to more calls for help with mental health problems

The mental health charity Mind has reported 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 2011 and April 2012 compared with the same period in 2010-11.

The Mind Infoline and Legal line help people experiencing mental health problems and their families 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.

Calls have steadily increased to the Mind Infoline since the service opened over 20 years ago and since the start of the recession advisers have seen an increase of 100 per cent on calls on both personal finances and employment.

Professor Peter Kinderman, a former chair of the Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, says:

"Social factors are the main determinants of our mental health and well-being. So periods of poverty, recession, austerity and social change are particularly threatening to our psychological health and well-being. Mental health professionals and charities predicted, many months ago, that this would be a challenging period. Indeed, Paul Burstow, the care services minister, assured us that the Department of Health regarded the protection of the most vulnerable as a priority as the country entered economic recession.

“Unfortunately, we can see our sad predictions coming true both in the UK and in countries such a Greece. We should also remember that most commentators tell us that ‘the public sector cuts haven't yet even begun to bite...’. It is therefore vital that we follow through on the minister's promise and ensure that there is appropriate provision to protect the mental health and well-being of citizens in these very challenging times."