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'People with mental health problems need money in their pockets now'

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Tori_Scope
Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
As part of Mind's response to the cost of living crisis, they released a statement reacting to the financial measures announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. Here's a snippet of what they said:
The Chancellor could have stood up today and announced straightforward policies to help people stay afloat this winter, such as urgently increasing benefits at least in line with inflation, so that benefits can actually cover people’s bills and other rising costs. Or he could have increased the amount people will be receiving from cost-of-living-crisis payments, to make up for the shortfall in support people are facing. People with mental health problems need money in their pockets now, and those who receive benefits deserve the reassurance that their income won’t be cut in real-terms again next year.
With financial stress taking a huge toll on people's wellbeing, the nation deserves NHS mental health services that can give us the right support when we need it most. With a recession looming, the pressure on our already struggling mental health system is due to ramp up, and the system urgently needs to be fully and properly funded to address the challenges ahead. The Chancellor needs to recognise this, and act urgently.
This lack of joined-up thinking on mental health from the UK government as we continue to weather this economic crisis is exactly why a cross-Government mental health plan is essential. A successful and fully-funded plan would identify and address the many contributory factors to poor mental health, including problems with employment, finances, accessing benefits and housing; and set out clear steps to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health services.

Over to you...

Is financial stress affecting your wellbeing? 

Do you think the UK's mental health system is fit for purpose? 

If you could change one thing about mental health services, what would it be?

National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

Comments

  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,984 Disability Gamechanger
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    Just wrote some things on another thread so if someone has read that as well then some things will copy over. Don't want people to think I'm being repetitive!

    Do you think the UK's mental health system is fit for purpose? 

    No, I think there are too many problems. Of course there are the same old issues that cover the whole health service, not just mental health. E.g. staff shortages, elusive doctors, no appointments, waiting lists.

    I don't think mental health is advanced as physical health, to me it seems a few decades behind. It seems with much of physical health many patients (not all) come in poorly and go out fixed, quite simple, but with mental health it's one big guessing game, trial and error, also a massive waiting game. I don't really know anyone with a mental health condition who just went to see a doctor and came out better. I guess the mind is much much more complex than most of the physical body.

    If you could change one thing about mental health services, what would it be?

    It's hard to choose just one thing! I think I'd bring in some kind of promise that patients will see "their" MH professional for the long term to enable them to build up a relationship with them, instead of having staff come and go. I don't know about others but I find I need to get to know someone over several months before they properly understand my issues and we are able to work together. When I get a new MH professional it takes several sessions before they understand me enough to start to be able to help and by changing who I see it wastes much valuable time.
  • leeCal
    leeCal Community member Posts: 7,550 Disability Gamechanger
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    I have definitely been stressed by the constant uncertainty about the benefits rise and it was unnecessary, the government could have easily stated its intentions. The only reason why they didn’t is so they could test the idea of not raising them or only raising them a little on the general public and their monkey mates.

    The nhs mental health service needs an overhaul in my opinion. There seems to be plenty of staff on very good salaries in the system but a significant number of them seem to try to pass each day by keeping their heads down and talking about their recent holidays. Quite a number of them are simply lazy or apathetic in my experience. 

    Changing just one thing? I have found that my GP has found it extremely difficult to liaise with the mental health teams, especially with my psychiatrist who I’ve also found to change every few weeks from one person to the next. So I’d change that, improve communication between a persons psychiatrist and their GP. That would help a little because GPs aren’t that up on psychiatry at all and always defer with regard to treatment to the psychiatrist, it’s simply unhelpful when the latter doesn’t reply to the GPs requests or questions.

    “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

  • mrf1
    mrf1 Community member Posts: 23 Connected
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    66Mustang said:
    Just wrote some things on another thread so if someone has read that as well then some things will copy over. Don't want people to think I'm being repetitive!

    Do you think the UK's mental health system is fit for purpose? 

    No, I think there are too many problems. Of course there are the same old issues that cover the whole health service, not just mental health. E.g. staff shortages, elusive doctors, no appointments, waiting lists.

    I don't think mental health is advanced as physical health, to me it seems a few decades behind. It seems with much of physical health many patients (not all) come in poorly and go out fixed, quite simple, but with mental health it's one big guessing game, trial and error, also a massive waiting game. I don't really know anyone with a mental health condition who just went to see a doctor and came out better. I guess the mind is much much more complex than most of the physical body.

    If you could change one thing about mental health services, what would it be?

    It's hard to choose just one thing! I think I'd bring in some kind of promise that patients will see "their" MH professional for the long term to enable them to build up a relationship with them, instead of having staff come and go. I don't know about others but I find I need to get to know someone over several months before they properly understand my issues and we are able to work together. When I get a new MH professional it takes several sessions before they understand me enough to start to be able to help and by changing who I see it wastes much valuable time.
    Everything you have said, is so true, underrated services,  
  • mrf1
    mrf1 Community member Posts: 23 Connected
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    mrf1 said:mrf1 said:
    66Mustang said:
    Just wrote some things on another thread so if someone has read that as well then some things will copy over. Don't want people to think I'm being repetitive!

    Do you think the UK's mental health system is fit for purpose? 

    No, I think there are too many problems. Of course there are the same old issues that cover the whole health service, not just mental health. E.g. staff shortages, elusive doctors, no appointments, waiting lists.

    I don't think mental health is advanced as physical health, to me it seems a few decades behind. It seems with much of physical health many patients (not all) come in poorly and go out fixed, quite simple, but with mental health it's one big guessing game, trial and error, also a massive waiting game. I don't really know anyone with a mental health condition who just went to see a doctor and came out better. I guess the mind is much much more complex than most of the physical body.

    If you could change one thing about mental health services, what would it be?

    It's hard to choose just one thing! I think I'd bring in some kind of promise that patients will see "their" MH professional for the long term to enable them to build up a relationship with them, instead of having staff come and go. I don't know about others but I find I need to get to know someone over several months before they properly understand my issues and we are able to work together. When I get a new MH professional it takes several sessions before they understand me enough to start to be able to help and by changing who I see it wastes much valuable time.
    Everything you have said, is so true, underrated services,  

    66Mustang said:
    Just wrote some things on another thread so if someone has read that as well then some things will copy over. Don't want people to think I'm being repetitive!

    Do you think the UK's mental health system is fit for purpose? 

    No, I think there are too many problems. Of course there are the same old issues that cover the whole health service, not just mental health. E.g. staff shortages, elusive doctors, no appointments, waiting lists.

    I don't think mental health is advanced as physical health, to me it seems a few decades behind. It seems with much of physical health many patients (not all) come in poorly and go out fixed, quite simple, but with mental health it's one big guessing game, trial and error, also a massive waiting game. I don't really know anyone with a mental health condition who just went to see a doctor and came out better. I guess the mind is much much more complex than most of the physical body.

    If you could change one thing about mental health services, what would it be?

    It's hard to choose just one thing! I think I'd bring in some kind of promise that patients will see "their" MH professional for the long term to enable them to build up a relationship with them, instead of having staff come and go. I don't know about others but I find I need to get to know someone over several months before they properly understand my issues and we are able to work together. When I get a new MH professional it takes several sessions before they understand me enough to start to be able to help and by changing who I see it wastes much valuable time.
    Everything you have said, is so true, underrated services,  
    I meant useless services
  • Hannah86
    Hannah86 Community member Posts: 19 Connected
    edited October 2022
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    Mental health…….You need to see the same person, starting with your GP. I found it so hard to talk to my GPs, made ten time harder by the fact I had to start from scratch each time in a very short amount of time about what I was going through with someone new. It’s very hard to do that especially when you’re feeling vulnerable. I didn’t get a referral to a mental health team, if I did I would have been referred to neurology because they would have heard key things that GPs did not. They just felt I was anxious and having panic attacks.
    I just needed someone to hear me, it was a lot harder to get several people to try and do that in such a short amount of time than it would of if I’d of been able to see the same doctor or got a referral to mental health who would of listened that little bit harder.
    I felt like I didn’t matter at all, and if it wasn’t for finally having generalised seizures and being diagnosed I had very limited time mentally before I gave up completely, weeks.
    I said to the neurologist, I bet I look silly crying with happiness, waking up from a coma looking like I’ve been in a car crash being told I have epilepsy. No, I see this all time. People who tried so hard to get past their GP, or not wait for long periods of time to see a psychologist who would ultimately of referred you to neurology.

    If I could change one thing, it would be to see the same doctor, I think that would save so many lives from mental health to neurological, and also cancer x
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,804 Disability Gamechanger
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    If I could change one thing it would be accessibility.  I can't even access mental health assessments now because of my physical limitations.  (Unable to travel or speak being the main ones).  

    However, I have previously been through several face to face assessments throughout the 2010s and never had a positive outcome from those either.  My situation is more complex than most, but there seems to be no service that can help at all.  I haven't seen any improvement in MH services in the last decade.  The most frustrating thing is that I tried to explain repeatedly how I was losing abilities, despite my best efforts, and needed help urgently before I ended up in an even worse situation...such as now being housebound and unable to manage basic tasks.

    Regarding finances, the benefits systems have caused me constant stress for years.  First not having enough money, then having too much, then trying to work out the savings rules for each different benefit, and for over a year now I've been left in limbo waiting for a PIP review decision.  I can't make any well-considered decisions until I know what my income will be moving forward.  
  • elahrairah
    elahrairah Scope Member Posts: 49 Courageous
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    oh i could rant for hours on this subject.  needless to say i think that things need to change and that change isn't going to happen any time soon because the mentally ill don't matter.  we don't vote and we don't have money and mostly we generate money for landlords and when we work we get paid low wages so we're good for business.  the nhs generates plenty of money for pharmaceutical companies from our illness, so thats good too.  where's the incentive to change anything?  this isn't a nice country, its a grasping money obsessed country that demonises the ill and considers mental illness a moral failing.  that's the short version.  i hate criticising the nhs because i think a national health service is essential and i don't want to lose it, which is what the tories want eventually, once there is no more money that private companies can squeeze out of it. 
  • elahrairah
    elahrairah Scope Member Posts: 49 Courageous
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    when i say no more money, i mean that once the rate of profit has declined and they can't work out how to increase it, then the remaining dregs of socialised medicine will be privatised.  in the meantime it'll continue to be stealth privatised as more and more segments are sliced off and farmed out to the private sector.
  • sara82
    sara82 Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Im certainly stressed about thé cost of living and thé DWP certainly dont help im currently in a situation where my anxiety and dépression has got so bad that i have accumilated  huge amount of rent arrears due to isolating myself for over à year not opening mail ect just shutting myself off from thé world i finally got the courage to reach out for help and currently have a support worker helping me to try get my rent arrears down to avoid being evicted  i very rarely leave thé house due to my anxiety and a few months ago my mobile phone broke i was ubable to afford a new one and was without a phone  for many weeks therefore myself and partner were unaware of any universal crédit appointments and had to wait for my support worker to supply me with à phone from thé foodbank i explained to universal crédit and they have continued to sanction me over £200 for three months which has left me unable to pay off some rent arrears iasked universal crédit for a mandatory reconsideration to see if i was able to get thé sanction back so that im able to pay £600 off my arrears and show thé judge when i have to attend court that i an really trying to pay some off and i explained this to universal crédit they Saïd i would have a décision by 2nd september and im still waiting i have contacted universal crédit many times just to be told they cant do anyrhing and that thé décision maker will be in touch Ive been waiting 3 months for a décision and still nothing im in court next week And its affecting my mental health so bad something needs to be done especially with sanctions during thé cost of living crisis
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,129 Disability Gamechanger
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    COL it's becoming clear that if the chancellor refuses to increase all benefits by Septembers rate of inflation he won't get it through parliament as tory back-benchers won't support it, but of course the increase won't take affect till next April (thats just how it works).
    Mental health services seem to be the poor relation in the UK, how that can be solved I have no idea as the NHS as a whole is in a mess and thats before winter starts.

    2024 Election won

  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2022
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    I haven't had a chance to read all of your responses in depth yet, but I just wanted to thank everyone who's shared such thoughtful and insightful comments :) It's clearly something that's affecting many of us. 

    National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,734 Disability Gamechanger
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    @sara82 Thanks for telling us some more about your situation. It sounds like it's been a tough time for you lately and I just wanted to check in and ask a few questions. If you are more comfortable answering these via email, then please contact us at community@scope.org.uk and we'll get back to you asap.

    You mentioned that you have isolated yourself due to anxiety and depression, and I wondered if you were getting support with this from your GP or another health care team? If not, I'd really encourage you to visit your doctor; it's a lot to be dealing with in private and they are best placed to help you through it.

    Also, is your partner supportive and aware of how you're feeling? I hope so, talking is therapeutic in of itself so do lean on him if you find him a comfort.

    To help with any debt, I'd recommend contacting Step Change who offer free debt advice. Whilst, there is also Advice Local to find someone who specialises in welfare benefits to support you if you continue having issues with your UC mandatory reconsideration. Has there been any update on this since Tuesday?

    Lastly, you mentioned using a food bank and I wanted to check you were able to get essential items ok? 

    I hope the court date goes as well as can be expected next week, please keep in touch. Take care.
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  • mrf1
    mrf1 Community member Posts: 23 Connected
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    sara82 said:
    Im certainly stressed about thé cost of living and thé DWP certainly dont help im currently in a situation where my anxiety and dépression has got so bad that i have accumilated  huge amount of rent arrears due to isolating myself for over à year not opening mail ect just shutting myself off from thé world i finally got the courage to reach out for help and currently have a support worker helping me to try get my rent arrears down to avoid being evicted  i very rarely leave thé house due to my anxiety and a few months ago my mobile phone broke i was ubable to afford a new one and was without a phone  for many weeks therefore myself and partner were unaware of any universal crédit appointments and had to wait for my support worker to supply me with à phone from thé foodbank i explained to universal crédit and they have continued to sanction me over £200 for three months which has left me unable to pay off some rent arrears iasked universal crédit for a mandatory reconsideration to see if i was able to get thé sanction back so that im able to pay £600 off my arrears and show thé judge when i have to attend court that i an really trying to pay some off and i explained this to universal crédit they Saïd i would have a décision by 2nd september and im still waiting i have contacted universal crédit many times just to be told they cant do anyrhing and that thé décision maker will be in touch Ive been waiting 3 months for a décision and still nothing im in court next week And its affecting my mental health so bad something needs to be done especially with sanctions during thé cost of living crisis
    So true
  • mrf1
    mrf1 Community member Posts: 23 Connected
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    So true
  • Jo_2022
    Jo_2022 Community Volunteer Host Posts: 297 Pioneering
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    Hello @Tori_Scope:) Thank you so much for writing this post, it is very insightful.

    I think I would change the long waiting list for mental health services. Also, I feel there is stigma attached to mental health issues and a lack of awareness, and not enough understanding of how to best guide a person with mental health issues.

    Have a great day! Take care         

    Community Volunteer Host with a passion for human rights.


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