Mental health services run by the charity Mind have seen a cut of 5.7 per cent in funding at the same time as a surge in demand from people requiring help.

The charity’s 166 branches across England and Wales have reported a total reduction of £6.3m in support for services for people with mental illnesses.

The branches are mainly funded by contracts with the NHS and local authorities. Their total value is now £105m. The charity said this meant 13,915 people had lost out on its support as a result.

The South Central and North West regions were most affected by cuts, losing 15 per cent and 12 per cent of their respective incomes. Meanwhile, the charity said demand had soared. It saw calls to its two helplines jump by 18 per cent and 28 per cent in 2011.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer told HSJ the increase in demand at a time when cuts were being made was “worrying” and urged commissioners not to fall into the trap of slashing spending on mental health.

“Reducing investment in mental health is a false economy at this particular moment. In fact there has not been a more important time to invest in mental health services,” he said.

“It is crucial mental health services are not disproportionately affected as the squeeze on public spending really begins to bite.”