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Our impact: references

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Two in three adults (65%) have experienced a mental health problem at some point in their lives:

38% of all ill-health is caused by mental health problems (for under-65s):

Over 300,000 people in England are living with a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia.

Nearly nine out of ten people (87%) with mental health problems have experienced stigma and discrimination.

Mental ill-health has the same effect on life expectancy as smoking.

People with severe mental health problems, such as psychosis or bipolar disorder, die on average 20 years earlier.

  • Brown S, Kim M, Mitchell C and Inskip H. (2010): “Twenty-five year mortality of a community cohort with schizophrenia” British Journal of Psychiatry 196 pp 116–121;
  • Parks J, Svendsen D, Singer P et al. (2006): “Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness” 13th technical report. Alexandria, Virginia: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
  •  As featured in: Rethink Mental Illness (2013): Lethal Discrimination: Why people with mental illness are dying needlessly and what needs to change.

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People with mental health problems are three times more likely to have debt problems.

The smoking rate amongst people with mental health problems is double the national average.

  • Adult smoking habits in Great Britain (2014). Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, ONS, 2016.
  • Szatkowsk Li & McNeill A. Diverging trends in smoking behaviours according to mental health status. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2015; 3: 356-60.
  • As featured in: Action on Smoking and Health: Smoking and Mental Health – page 1.

80% of homeless people report a mental health problem.

Up to 90% of the prison population have a mental health problem.

20 to 40% of police time is spent supporting people with mental health problems.

  • Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing Report (2013) – page 12.

Mental health problems cost the economy in England £100bn every year.

Only 65% of people with psychotic mental health conditions, and 25% of adults with depression and anxiety-related conditions, are thought to receive support from services.

Only 38% of people using community mental health services feel that they receive the help they need quickly enough.

Of the 100,000 people who die in England each year in avoidable circumstances, one in three have a mental health problem.

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The British public were asked: What has the biggest effect on your mental wellbeing? #1 Response: Relationships with family and friends. #2 Response: Jobs / work-life balance.

People who’ve attempted or considered suicide were asked: What contributed to your decision? 41% Financial and/or housing pressures. 29% Job loss or difficulties at work. 25% Relationship breakdown.

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Less than half (41%) of the British public recognise that social workers are important providers of mental health support. 29% of the British public mistakenly think that mental health social workers do household jobs like cooking and cleaning. 27% think that they provide help with washing and dressing, and 30% that they provide childcare.

Students at the UK’s top universities rate social work 5 out of 10 for career status, below teaching, policing, and nursing.

  • Research by High Fliers.

Research has found that social workers often struggle to be heard by other professionals in multidisciplinary teams, and are often required to act in limited roles that don’t enable them to use all their professional skills.

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14% of our participants are Oxford or Cambridge graduates, compared to just 0.5% of new entrants to social work master’s courses in 2011/12.

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Outside Think Ahead, less than 8% of training placements are in mental health services.