More could be done to help people with mental health problems get the advice and support they need, say campaigners.

Bridport and District Citizens Advice has reported a growth in the number of clients with mental health problems seeking help, many of whom require advice on benefits, and has called for better signposting of advice services.

A recent survey undertaken by Citizens Advice also found that the majority of mental health staff were having to spend more time dealing with the practical difficulties faced by their patients and, as a result, it is having a negative impact on their ability to manage the mental health of their patients.

The most common problems that mental health staff are being asked to assist with are debt and money problems, unemployment and work, housing and welfare.

Citizens Advice has called for advice services for mental health patients to be better integrated which would alleviate the pressure on frontline mental health staff and enable them to work more effectively.

Last year, Citizens Advice helped more 100,000 people across country who reported having a mental health issue and that they were more likely to face multiple, complex problems compared to the average client.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "If you're living with mental health problems, everyday issues like managing your money, dealing with your landlord, or applying for benefits can be much more difficult to manage. But if these issues aren’t addressed, they can often escalate and make mental health problems worse - creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from.

“Providing people with practical support is essential to make sure these problems don't spiral out of control, but this should not be the job of already stretched mental health professionals. To reduce pressure on frontline NHS staff and better support people with mental health problems, advice services should be available in mental health settings as a matter of course.”

Bridport and District Citizens Advice has offices on South Street, Bridport, which are open every weekday from 10am to 3pm. There are also advice sessions every week at St Michael’s Business Centre in Lyme Regis from 10am to 3pm on Wednesdays and at the Yarn Barton Community Centre, Beaminster, on Thursdays from 12.30pm to 3pm.

Advice is free, confidential and impartial.