NHS boss warns of impact of cost of living on mental health and suicide and urges people to seek help
Samantha Allen, chief executive of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) of the NHS, spoke ahead of a partnership between the NHS and financial support organization Money and Pensions Service. Our region’s health officials are keen to highlight the link between money worries and mental health – and have worked to reduce the suicide rate a key target.
Ms Allen – who took up her post at the newly created ICB this summer – said: “Many people are expecting a tough winter, with bills rising and energy costs exploding. We are all worried sometimes money, but if it’s affecting your mental health, please seek help – don’t wait for things to get worse.
“Money worries and suicide rate problems often go together, and it makes a big difference if you get help early. The cost of living is a real concern for people, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and there’s plenty of support out there. Healthcare professionals have a major role to play, being aware of the risks and knowing what services can help with money problems. It can be difficult to bring up the subject, but we strive to help colleagues feel able to spot financial issues and discuss them sensitively.”
Along with other NHS leaders, Ms Allen was keen to highlight the free professional help available for those concerned about debt, credit and making ends meet. This precedes Money Talk Week which is an annual event organized by the MPS.
Starting November 7, there will be a week of events designed to help people talk more openly about money. Sarah Murphy, Head of Health, Welfare and Social Protection Systems Strategy at MPS, said: “Open and honest discussions about money help us build financial confidence and resilience to face anything. what the future holds. They also lead to stronger personal relationships and better mental health, while reducing the stress and anxiety that money issues can cause.”
In September, Samantha Allen wrote to energy regulator OFGEM warning of the risks to vulnerable people caused by the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills. She said people were already hospitalized because of the crisis.
The NHS has listed a range of free resources:
- For debt and spending advice, Money Helper is available at moneyhelper.org.uk and 0800 138 7777. Local councils are also able to provide advice and support.
- For a helping hand with your mental health, visit nhs.uk/mental-healthspeak with your GP or call NHS 111.
- The government “breathing space” A program is available for those struggling with debt – it can provide a respite period of up to 60 days.
- Anyone receiving mental health crisis treatment is eligible for the Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space System, which provides temporary creditor protection, including the freezing of most interests. , fees and debt charges and suspension of most enforcement actions. It lasts the duration of the mental health crisis treatment plus 30 days.
- Mental health nurses, social workers and other professionals can refer you to specialized mental health and money counseling if they think you are eligible. Visit mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org for more details.
- Anyone with energy supply problems could be eligible to be on their suppliers’ “priority service register” – that is, for vulnerable people such as pensioners, people who depend on electricity for medical equipment or who are otherwise vulnerable. Contact your energy supplier about this.