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We support the Centre for Mental Health’s recent publication on the severity of food insecurities of people with mental health issues in the north of England, produced by Teesside University;Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust; and Equally Well UK.

The report highlights:  

  • 18% of the UK population is living with food insecurity today; that’s equivalent to almost 12 million people.  
  • 50% of people with a severe mental illness diagnosis in the north of England were unable to afford food. 
  • 59% of people surveyed had physical health problems as well as mental illness 
  • The lived experience research participants advised that they had “a poorer diet, leading to either weight gain or weight loss and had heightened stress, anxiety and depression, leading to fatigue and exhaustion”.  
  • Not being able to feed their children was an especial concern for parents with a mental illness.

Our Head of Community and Crisis Services, Tracy Bruce, commented:

“We’re saddened but unfortunately not shocked to read these appalling statistics. People are going hungry because they’re finding it so hard to make ends meet – which of course is going to impact their mental health.” 

“4,233 people in the North East accessed our Together in a Crisis mental health services since July last year; almost 50% of those were people who also needed urgent and practical financial support. As a result, we’ve given almost £12,000 worth of food and utility bill vouchers through our partnership voucher scheme.”  

“Too often, mental ill-health is considered only as a clinical issue; this needs to stop. We’re working with NHS and community partners, including TEVW, to create a more ‘joined up’ approach to mental health support. By working together, we can give people immediate welfare advice, housing support, financial support, and employment services, as a core part of supporting their mental health.”  

“No one should be left to struggle alone, and together we can make sure they don’t.” 

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