Mental health charity Mind has called for more investment in services to help cope with an expected surge in demand caused by the economic downturn.

It follows yesterday's prediction from shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley that the number of people with mental health problems will rise by 26 per cent by 2010.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: "Financial health and mental health are inextricably linked.

"If people think that the recession is just about the cost to industry, then think again - it's also about the wide-ranging human costs."

Job insecurity, redundancy, debt and financial problems are all proven to contribute to mental distress, he added.

Debts

In May 2008, a Mind report revealed that 91 per cent of people who experienced mental distress said their problems got worse when they were struggling with debts and finances.

Mr Farmer said: "As more people come face to face with these problems, there is no doubt that we will see an increase in depression, anxiety and stress.

"We need to make sure that these aren't the first steps up a one-way street by providing mental health support when people need it."

Guidance

In response to the financial crisis, the Royal College of Psychiatrists today announced it will be sending 100,000 health professionals special guidance on supporting patients with debt and mental health problems.