Dear Prime Minister,
In the UK the cost-of-living crisis runs deep in every community and is having a significant impact on mental health.
High levels of inflation affect everyone as the price of necessities including food and energy increase. However, the impact is not felt equally. We know those already experiencing inequality, poverty and hardship are being hardest hit. And poverty is the single biggest driver of poor mental health in children.
We also know that people living in the most deprived 10% of areas in the UK are more than twice as likely to die from suicide than those living in the wealthiest 10% of areas.
In 2022 the Trussell Trust who provide emergency support to people in crisis issued 1.3 million food parcels between April and September. 94% of people accessing emergency food parcels are experiencing destitution. That means they are well below the poverty line and cannot afford the essentials to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean.
This should worry us all. It is a shameful and unnecessary situation in the UK. As leaders of mental health organisations there is growing demand for our services. We will, of course, continue to do our absolute best to provide the necessary support.
But we want to be crystal clear: the first intervention to reduce mental ill health and prevent suicide is to ensure every household has the means to be safe and warm with enough to eat. We urge the Prime Minister to act with speed and compassion to tackle the root causes of destitution and in doing so prevent suicide and an inevitable rise in mental ill health.
Julie Bentley, Samaritans
Simon Blake OBE, Mental Health First Aid England
Sophie Corlett, Mind
Brian Dow, Mental Health UK
Sean Duggan OBE, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation
Akiko Hart, National Survivor User Network
Victoria Hornby OBE, Mental Health Innovations
Dr Sarah Hughes, Centre for Mental Health
Poppy Jaman OBE, MindForward Alliance
Dr Adrian James, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Tom Madders, YoungMinds
Chris Martin, The Mix
Paula Ojok, Helplines Partnership
Kathy Roberts, Association of Mental Health Providers
Catherine Roche, Place2Be
Mark Rowland, Mental Health Foundation
Michael Samuel MBE, Anna Freud Centre
Rosie Tressler OBE, Student Minds
Mark Winstanley, Rethink Mental Illness