Eight out of 10 mental health professionals who provide NHS England’s Talking Therapies programme said that dealing with practical issues reduces time spent on clinical work, according to a survey from Citizens Advice.
Some 57% said that they amount of time they are spending on non-health issues has increased compared with last year.
CItizens Advice is calling for advice services to be integrated in more mental health settings to alleviate the pressure on frontline mental health staff and to better support the needs of people with mental health problems.
98% said they had dealt with a patient’s non-health problems during an appointment in the past month.
Mental health staff most commonly assisted with:
- Debt and money problems
More than half of those surveyed reported increased stress as a result of dealing with non-health problems.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: "If you're living with mental health problems, everyday issues like managing your money, dealing with your landlord, or applying for benefits can be much more difficult to manage. But if these issues aren’t addressed, they can often escalate and make mental health problems worse - creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from.
“Providing people with practical support is essential to make sure these problems don't spiral out of control, but this should not be the job of already stretched mental health professionals. To reduce pressure on frontline NHS staff and better support people with mental health problems, advice services should be available in mental health settings as a matter of course.”