CHARITY Mind warned yesterday that vital NHS mental-health services were “really struggling” after new figures suggested that there had been a sharp rise in attempted suicides and self-harm on overcrowded hospital wards.
Figures from 29 mental health trusts showed a 55 per cent surge in both from 2010-13. Attempts at suicide shot up from 511 to 795 and self-harm from 14,815 to 23,053.
Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said the figures were “the latest in a long line of worrying signs that NHS mental-health services are really struggling.
“Continued cuts to funding for mental-health services are taking a significant toll on the quality and availability of services, meaning more and more people are reaching crisis point and need to be hospitalised.”
Labour shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said the statistics coincided with continued overcrowding of dedicated wards amid a beds shortage.
She branded the figures “deeply concerning” and said that mental-health services were under “intolerable” pressure because of a £250 million government cash squeeze.
Hundreds of beds have been junked and staff axed to fit mental-health budgets slashed by 2.3 per cent between 2011-12 and 2013-14 at the same time as demand on overstretched community teams has mushroomed by 16 per cent.
Mr Farmer said: “The cuts are self-evidently a false economy but the real scandal is that services are failing people with mental-health problems and potentially putting lives in danger as a result.”