Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP. Photo credit: Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP at DPA 2011 via photopin (license)

A new survey from Unite highlights a growing crisis in NHS mental health funding, with more than one in three applied psychologists seriously considering quitting their posts due to low moral and increased workloads.

The survey, published to coincide with World Mental Health Day (10 October), found that 81% of applied psychologists have experienced increased workloads over the past 12 months, with 77% frequently or always working more than their contracted hours.

Worryingly, more than a third (35%) say they are considering leaving their NHS posts, as a pitiful Government pay offer and increased workloads weakens moral and places their own health at risk.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents to the survey said their morale had worsened over the past year, while 96% say the government’s current public sector pay policy is unfair.

[contextly_sidebar id=”1E0jniZvKzzzzclivpTKX0zfh9BkAZAt”]According to Unite, the damning findings expose the Government’s “broken promise” to increase funding for NHS mental health services, particularly at a time when one in four UK adults experience mental health problems in any one year.

A recent Freedom of Information Request revealed that more than half of clinical commissioning groups intend to reduce mental health spending over this financial year, which Unite says proves Jeremy Hunt (pictured) is failing to meet his pledge to boost mental health funds.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “Our survey of our NHS applied psychologists is another ‘wake-up’ call that mental health services in the UK are reeling from a perfect storm of budget cuts, low morale and increased – and unsustainable – workloads, which impact adversely on patient care.

“Jeremy Hunt needs to address the funding crisis to deliver a well-qualified and trained workforce, better leadership and an end of practices that cause stress, fear and, ultimately, lead to highly qualified professionals departing the NHS, at a time when their skills are needed more than ever as mental health waiting lists get longer and longer.”

Chair of Unite’s applied psychologists professional committee Antony Vassalos added: “What applied psychologists across the UK are saying, loud and clear, is that they are being worn down by changes and major cuts in their services which are definitely not in the interest of patients, leading, as the survey shows, to increased stress at work and poor morale within the profession.”