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Joining the dots: Integrating practical support in mental healthcare settings in England

17 October 2017

Joining the dots [ 1.1 mb] is Citizens Advice’s first in-depth report looking at the advice needs of our clients with mental health problems. An infographic summary [ 0.89 mb] is also available.

Joining the dots

Our advisers see first hand how mental health problems mean people can struggle to manage other aspects of their lives to do with benefits, housing, debt and employment. In turn, they see how these problems can worsen people’s mental health, leading to periods of crisis or standing in the way of recovery.

Recognising the links between people’s mental health and their wider practical problems is crucial both for preventing mental health problems from escalating and improving recovery rates.

This report is the first major analysis of our data of our clients facing mental health problems in England. It finds the following problems:

  • A growing number of people who turn to Citizens Advice report having mental health problems. The number of Citizens Advice clients reporting a mental health problem in England has increased by 9% in the past year.

  • Our clients with mental health problems have more complex, urgent and multiple advice needs. Clients with a mental health problem have an average of 5 practical problems each, and are more likely to view their problem as urgent.

  • People with mental health problems aren’t getting the practical support they need. Less than a third of people (32%) nationally who access NHS services are referred to advice services, while twice as many (64%) said this would be helpful.

Recommendations

1. Public and private services should take action to ensure they are responding effectively to the needs of people with mental health problems.

Essential service providers, local authorities, businesses, landlords and employers can do more to support people with mental health problems effectively.

2. The government should fund a pilot for integrated practical support in primary mental healthcare settings.

This would improve outcomes for people with mental health problems, and alleviate demand on public services as a result. The government should begin by testing integrated support in IAPT settings (Improved Access to Psychological Therapies).