Oxfordshire Mind is here to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support.
This winter we ask you to support our Benefits for Better Mental Health team who give support and advice to anyone in Oxfordshire with a mental health problem and enable them to claim the benefits they are entitled to.
Hugh had been struggling with mental health problems for years before he got in touch with Oxfordshire Mind. The last straw for Hugh came when he was injured and unable to work. He had three children to look after with no money and no support.
I felt like I was stuck between Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro with no safety net.
Over the past four years Hugh has come to Oxfordshire Mind for one to one support, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and advice from our benefits team. He wanted to be able to work, but when his health did not permit this he put pride aside and contacted the Oxfordshire Mind team for help with benefits.
He was really struggling with his finances and couldn't afford to buy his children Christmas presents.
I'll never forget the look on their faces when I couldn't give them anything for Christmas.
Oxfordshire Mind have supported Hugh to fill out his benefits forms, let him know what to expect and helped him talk to the relevant people to try and claim what he is entitled to. Unfortunately, like many of our clients, Hugh's request was denied. As well as helping with advice and support our advisors also represent clients at appeals. Hugh was dreading his latest appeal and asked Oxfordshire Mind to speak on his behalf. We were delighted to win the appeal for Hugh who was then granted two benefits (ESA and PIP) which will be reviewed in two years.
Without Mind I couldn't keep a roof over my children's heads or food in their bellies.
With the introduction of a new benefits system, Universal Credit, the process for claiming benefits is becoming more complicated. More people are falling into debt and our clients are becoming more stressed and anxious. More people need more support from us, but securing funding for the service is becoming more and more difficult.
Hugh doesn't know where he or his family would be without Oxfordshire Mind as their safety net. This winter, please help us support Hugh and everyone in Oxfordshire who needs our help to claim benefits, access mental health support and navigate their way around the systems.