Our work Gateshead Investigates Citizens Advice Investigates: People with Mental Health Issues are Struggling to Access Essential Services The latest research from Citizens Advice indicates that people with mental health issues are struggling to access vital everyday services. Carried out earlier this year, the study highlighted that mentally-ill individuals faced significant difficulties with day-to-day tasks such as organising phone contracts, paying bills, switching energy providers and contacting their local authority. This news comes at a vital time for Gateshead, with the Care Quality Commission recently describing community mental health services in the area, offered by the NHS, as ‘inadequate’ and ‘overly-restrictive’. Prior research from the Mental Health Foundation indicated that the North East has the highest rate in England of both suicides and people who have reported struggling with mental health problems. The people taking part in Citizens Advice’s study emphasised that they have become more reliant on family and friends due to their health issues. The research unveiled that without these support networks, many people with mental health conditions are dependent upon mental health organisations to complete everyday tasks. Fran Targett, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru, emphasized the “essential need to raise awareness of the range of advice available so that those in need know where to get the help they need.” In response to this troubling report, Citizens Advice is calling for its customer-facing staff to be trained in recognising mental health issues. If you’re struggling with problems due to a suspected mental health condition, you can contact Citizens Advice Gateshead for free guidance on overcoming your issues.