Sad news from Mind;
Mind, the mental health charity, today expressed alarm as new figures from its national telephone service show a 50% call increase within twelve months. The number of calls rose to over 68,000 in 2012/13, from 46,000 in 2011/2012.
The Mind Infoline has seen a corresponding shift in the nature of calls, with people presenting more acute and complex problems, many stemming from severe financial worries. This is reflected in a concerning 30% rise in calls relating to suicide: In 2012/13 there were 1,546 calls from people who had experienced suicidal thoughts, had taken steps to end their own life, or had concerns about a loved one, this was up from the 1,185 contacts received the previous year.
In response to the worrying figures, Mind acknowledges the increased need for its services, and urges people not to wait until they hit crisis point before getting in touch. As the charity announces the appointment of a new celebrity ambassador, TV presenter Anna Williamson, it hopes she will help raise crucial awareness through her role to ensure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.
Anna Williamson, who this week starts her new summer role offering viewers advice on ITV’s This Morning, has battled severe anxiety and panic attacks for many years. She now talks openly about her experiences and the vital first step of asking for help. Anna will play a key role as a Mind ambassador, encouraging others to seek support as soon as they need it.
Anna Williamson said: “I know just how scary it can be to start the conversation – worrying what friends or colleagues will think. But I also now know that opening up is the key to getting better. Since I first shared my own experiences, I’ve heard from so many others in the same position. It’s easy to forget you’re not alone, that actually 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem every year.
“I am passionate about raising awareness and thrilled to be joining Mind as an ambassador. Through my new role I’m determined to let people know its OK to ask for help.”
Paul Farmer, CEO for Mind says:
“Today many people face the stark reality of severe financial pressures, be it through employment worries, benefit cuts, increased cost of living, or a lethal combination of all three. It’s therefore no surprise that people need Mind more than ever. We urge anyone who needs our support to pick up the phone and to do it today.
“We know that when people in the public eye speak out, it inspires others to seek help. We are delighted to have Anna Williamson’s support and are confident her honesty and candour will strike a chord with many others across the country and prompt them to get in touch.”
The Mindinfoline is a confidential telephone service providing information about mental health diagnosis, treatment, medication, local service provision and advocacy. Open from 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday, calls to the service are charged at a local rate and can be reached on 0300 123 3393.