ISAKSEN Mette, WILLIAMS Richard
This report provides an analysis of the advice needs of Citizens Advice clients in England who report having a mental health problem. It shows how recognising the links between people’s mental health and their wider practical problems is crucial both for preventing mental health problems from escalating and improving recovery rates. The report draws on the results of an analysis of client data, a survey of Citizens Advice advisors and a survey of 2,000 people across England. The analysis shows that a growing number of people who turn to Citizens Advice for advice report having mental health problems. In addition, clients with mental health problems tend to have more complex, urgent and multiple advice needs. The report uses Citizen Advice data to explore the advice needs of people with mental health problems across the areas of: finance, essential services, housing, employment, and benefits. It also provides evidence to show that the provision of practical advice and support alongside mental health services can improve patient wellbeing and outcomes and reduce demand on public services. Despite this, the research found that less than a third of people (32 per cent) nationally who access NHS services are referred to advice services, while twice as many (64 per cent) said this would be helpful. The report recommends that service providers should take action to ensure they are responding effectively to the needs of people with mental health problems and calls for government to fund a pilot for integrated practical support in primary mental healthcare settings.
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust
ExtraCare’s Wellbeing Programme was developed in 2002, in partnership with older people who live at ExtraCare’s Schemes and Villages. The concept was launched following a survey, which highlighted that 75% of residents at one location had not accessed any health screening via their GPs or the NHS. A pilot screening scheme subsequently identified 122 previously undetected conditions amongst a population of just 136, highlighting a clear need for the Programme.
BLANCHARD Catherine, BRITTAIN Andrea
British Red Cross Independent Living services such as Support at Home, Home from Hospital, and Mobility Aids provide time-limited support to help people live independently in their own home. This study explores the challenges facing people using these services, whose increasingly complex needs are creating greater obstacles to their ability to live independently. Phase one of the study conducted interviews with 29 service users, eight volunteers and 22 staff members into the problems service users face to living independently. Phase two used follow up questionnaires with 170 service users to explore key issues in more depth, including carers, mobility, information and advice, social isolation and loneliness. The results of the questionnaires found high levels of mobility reported-difficulties, which could impact on people's ability to maintain existing relationships and over half of respondents found difficult to find information and advice; The research also found that high numbers of service users live alone and also have high levels of social isolation and loneliness that require long-term intervention. Of the167 service users who answered questions on social isolation, 64 per cent experienced 'some' social isolation and a quarter fell into the 'most isolated' group. Drawing on findings, the report makes recommendations for the Independent Living service in relation to service development, advocacy and communications and data collection. These include: for services to be person-centred, consider partnerships and employ good practice in signposting; for the collection of data on whether people live alone, how long they have lived alone; and being clear in communications that loneliness and social isolation are different concepts.