Local mental health charities are struggling to cope with an influx in referrals of people suffering from mental health issues.
Mental health groups are facing cuts across the UK as a result of the Government’s austerity programme and the number of people suffering from conditions such as depression is on the rise.
Now Dundee Association of Mental Health (DAMH) has revealed that referrals have jumped 50% in the past nine months.
The charity also said its befriender service, which aims to pair a mental health sufferer with someone with experience of similar conditions, has dozens of people waiting to be seen.
DAMH executive officer Tom Garnett described the charity’s struggle as trying to offer “court-sized support with pint-sized finances.”
Mr Garnett said many people are facing a daily struggle in dealing with all aspects of life as a direct consequence of government spending failing to keep up with increasing demand on services.
He said: “We still feel a bit like mental health is the poor relation of physical health.
“This is partly due to a stigma still attached and partly because physical conditions are sometimes easier to understand.
“Mental health is one of the biggest growth industries in Scotland.
“Referrals to us have increased by 50% over the past nine months to a year as people feel the impact of various pressures.
“We have waiting lists of around 40 people wishing to access our befriender service as well.
“Day support facilities are under increased pressure and patients are therefore moved to alternative support areas like ourselves.
“The pressure is increasing everywhere and that’s not good for anyone’s mental health.”
Mr Garnett acknowledges that Dundee City Council is doing its best in trying to deal with the situation amidst a difficult financial climate, but fears that mental health will continue to face spending cuts.
He said: “If services are reduced the pressure will increase elsewhere.
“The strain is increasing for everyone and although the council are trying to protect the voluntary sector, they have said that we also need to share the pain.
“Everyone is struggling to keep their head above water.”
A spokeswoman for Dundee City Council insisted that the authority is working hard to maintain partnerships with charities and services across the sector.
She said: “Dundee City Council has a strong history of partnership working with those in our community who require support or services and with our third sector and health partners who deliver a range of these supports.”