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Citizens Advice mental health insights: people’s experience of community mental health support

31 July 2018

Citizens Advice mental health insights: people’s experience of community mental health support [ 450 kb] - full report.

Practical problems, such as losing one’s home or facing redundancy at work, can  worsen people’s mental health and quality of life. Primary care and mental health  services are seeing an increase in clients with practical problems that take up significant clinical time.    

This brief presents a review of case notes submitted by our advisors on what  challenges people with mental health needs face in their everyday life and  when accessing healthcare in the community. ​It also forms a part of policy  series on mental health.

This brief identifies five key challenges:

1. People with mental health problems are more likely to face practical  challenges​, such as struggling with debt, having problems to access benefits, or  being unable to work due to an illness or a disability. 

2.​ ​Additional costs associated with poor mental health​ often can make it more  difficult to manage financially. This includes unexpected costs such as having to pay  for medical evidence to support an application for welfare benefits, a prescription  penalty charge, or travel expenses to attend mental health appointments.

3. Community support before and after mental health treatment ​is often  limited or not available to assist people with their practical problems, which could  worsen their mental health  

4. Ethnic minority groups tend to face more barriers to access mental health  support. ​Having a pending immigration status or more complex practical issues  can make it more difficult for this group to access mental health support.   

5. Carers tend to have poor experience of community mental health support.  Not being informed about what community support is available for carers, or not  being kept informed about decisions related to their caring role can make  managing caring responsibilities more challenging.