This Morning SummerAs Mind ambassador Anna Williamson, starts her new summer role offering viewers advice on ITV’s This Morning, the mental health charity has today expressed alarm at a 50% increase in calls stemming from financial worries.

Mind say figures from its national telephone service show a 50% call increase within the last twelve months. The number of calls rose to over 68,000 in 2012/13 from 46,000 in 2011/2012.

The Mind Infoline has seen a corresponding shift in the nature of calls, with people presenting more acute and complex problems, many from severe financial worries. This is reflected in a concerning 30% rise in calls relating to suicide.

I know just how scary it can be to start the conversation – worrying what friends or colleagues will think. But I also now know that opening up is the key to getting better. Since I first shared my own experiences, I’ve heard from so many others in the same position. It’s easy to forget you’re not alone, that actually 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem every year. – Anna Williamson Mind ambassador and This Morning adviser

Williamson has battled severe anxiety and panic attacks for many years. She now talks openly about her experiences and the vital first step of asking for help.

I am passionate about raising awareness and thrilled to be joining Mind as an ambassador. Through my new role I’m determined to let people know its OK to ask for help. – Anna Williamson

The Mindinfoline is a confidential telephone service providing information about mental health diagnosis, treatment, medication, local service provision and advocacy. Open from 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday, calls to the service are charged at a local rate and can be reached on 0300 123 3393.

Today many people face the stark reality of severe financial pressures, be it through employment worries, benefit cuts, increased cost of living, or a lethal combination of all three. It’s therefore no surprise that people need Mind more than ever. We urge anyone who needs our support to pick up the phone and to do it today. – Paul Farmer, CEO for Mind

The Conservative party have been hitting the poorest hardest via the use of misleading figures to show the need to cut spending.

This really makes me angry because the public have been cheated into thinking there’s a “massive” fraud problem with benefits. There isn’t. Fraud accounts for just 1% of the benefit budget.

And I don’t think we need to be told about fraud from politicians who had their hands in the till for years and when caught said “I didn’t go anything against the system”. Millionaires like David Cameron were claiming money to pay their mortgages! And now they are getting a massive pay rise.

And then these unelected Tories have the nerve to try and get the middle class to hate those less fortunate by blaming the benefit system for murderer Mick Philpott – who lets remember his partners were in work.

Where was the outrage when Christopher Foster, a millionaire, murdered his wife and daughter? Why didn’t the Mail and The Sun say he was a vile product of Millionaire Britain?- ATV agony aunt Queenie

Fact File:

Only 3% of welfare goes to the unemployed. 54% of it goes to pensioners.

1% of it is lost on Fraud.

0.9% of Households have two generations unemployed according to the Rowntree Foundation.

One Billion a year is lost through benefit fraud. Seven billion a year is lost through tax evasion.

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