Three in four agree mental health problems and family breakdown are linked

Posted 15th May 2024

Nearly half of all UK births take place outside marriage, at which point 16 per cent of UK mothers have no regular partner – three times the level in Europe.

Previous research from The Relationship Foundation has estimated that the annual cost to the taxpayer of family breakdown is, at minimum, £50 billion, but that figure was calculated before the recent surge in the number of people of working age giving up work and claiming benefits – often citing a mental disorder as justification. 

That number has rocketed from 2.1 million in 2019 to 2.8 million today and many of the extra 700,000 claiming sick pay say they are unable to work because of mental health disorders. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of young people seeking assistance from NHS child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) rocketed by 76 per cent from 2019. In 2019, over 800,000 under-18s sought help from Camhs, soaring to over 1.4 million in 2022.

According to the Resolution Foundation think-tank, official figures show that claims for personal independence payment (Pip), the non-means tested benefit for those with health issues, jumped 68 per cent from 2020 to 2024. Department of Work and Pensions data on medical conditions recorded on Work Capability Assessments found that 69 per cent of benefit claimants cited mental health problems.

In a recent major study of over 43,000 patients in children and young people’s mental health (CYPMH) services, ‘Family Relationships problems’ were cited as the biggest presenting problem by CYPMH clinicians with over half of them citing family difficulties.

The survey was commissioned by the Family Hubs Network and carried out by Whitestone Insight.

Featured image courtesy of Daiga Ellaby via Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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