The front page of the Independent picked up our damning discovery through analysis of NHS England’s GP Patient Surveys that the rate of severe anxiety and depression in the unemployed has risen over 50 per cent since 2013.
With samples of over 700,000 people per year, the decline in mental health among the unemployed is clear. Given the established links between financial strain and mental health, it is almost certain that ever harsher welfare policies are playing a role.
We ask the Government to immediately suspend the sanctions system and conduct a wholesale review of the impact other welfare policies are having on mental health.
Our Chief Executive, Janet Weisz confirmed: “Our message to the Government is clear: harsh welfare policies are having a toxic impact on mental health.
“We as therapists are doing our best to help those affected – but the NHS is currently only resourced to provide therapy to 16.8 per cent of people with anxiety or depression. While investing in treatment is essential, we must also tackle the societal causes.
“The devastating impact of the benefits cap for families with children, the freezing of benefits at a time of inflation, and the cutting benefits for the disabled are putting claimants under terrible mental and financial strain. The constant threat of benefit sanctions only adds to the pressure.”
For more information on our research, please email our policy team.