Nineteen charities have signed an open letter to prime minister Rishi Sunak to prevent a rise in the number of people taking their own lives due to the increasing cost of living crisis. Amongst those to have signed are the Samaritans and mental health charity Mind.
The letter points out how the cost of living crisis is impacting communities across the UK. They added that 94 per cent of people accessing food parcels from food banks such as Trussell Trust are experiencing destitution. This means that they are well below the poverty line and cannot afford the essentials to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean.
This has been described by the charities as “a shameful and unnecessary situation in the UK. As leaders of mental health organisations, there is a growing demand for our services.”
The charities say that they will continue to offer support for those in need, but have urged the PM to “tackle the root cause of destitution”. They say without this there will be an “inevitable” rise in mental ill health.
In the letter, the charities say: “The first intervention to reduce mental ill health and prevent suicide is to ensure every household has the means to be safe and warm with enough to eat. We urge the Prime Minister to act with speed and compassion to tackle the root causes of destitution and in doing so prevent suicide and an inevitable rise in mental ill health.
The list of representatives and their charities who have signed the open letter to the PM is below:
- Julie Bentley, Samaritans
- Simon Blake OBE, Mental Health First Aid England
- Sophie Cortlett, Mind
- Brian Dow, Mental Health UK
- Sean Duggan OBE, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation
- Akiko Hart, National Survivor User Network
- Victoria Hornby OBE, Mental Health Innovations
- Dr Sarah Hughes, Centre for Mental Health
- Poppy Jaman OBE, MindForward Alliance
- Dr Adrian James, Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Tom Madders, Young Minds
- Chris Martin, The Mix
- Paula Ojok, Helplines Partnership
- Kathy Roberts, Association of Mental Health Providers
- Catherine Roche, Place2Be
- Mark Rowland, Mental Health Foundation
- Michael Samuel MBE, Anna Freud Centre
- Rosie Tressler OBE, Student Minds
- Mark Winstanley, Rethink Mental Illness