How can we protect peoples mental health during the cost-of-living-crisis?

MQ Mental Health Research and the University of Glasgow, with support from The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, have collaborated to help the UK better respond to the mental health issues arising from the ongoing cost-of-living-crisis.

This partnership aims to provide a comprehensive roadmap for a whole society approach to protect people’s mental health amid the cost-of-living-crisis.  This project has been driven by the vision of providing solutions, based on evidence, compassion, and best practice to better support people through the crisis and enable societal resilience.

The team has compiled a comprehensive report  outlining a spectrum of recommended actions. From short-term emergency measures designed to address the most immediate needs, to long-term strategies that target the structural drivers of the crisis.

The recommendations in the report are based on two main sources:

  1. A literature review focusing on existing scientific evidence regarding mental health and societal resilience’s protective factors. This review also discusses the impact of economic crises on mental health, underlying factors, and promising intervention targets at individual, community, and societal levels.
  2. Stakeholder consultations involving representatives from key sectors, including people with personal experiences of mental health conditions, researchers from health and social sciences, community and charity organizations, mental health practitioners, and leaders from both private and public sectors. The consultations were carried out through group interviews to discuss, refine, and enrich the recommendations developed from the literature review.


How will the cost-of-living-crisis impact the mental health and wellbeing of people in the UK?

The cost-of-living crisis’ full impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people in the UK is still being determined as the situation continues to evolve. Although specific data is limited, a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that financial concerns have resulted in feelings of hopelessness for about one in ten people, and stress and anxiety for one in three, over the past month.

Evidence post the 2007/2008 recession showed a significant deterioration in mental health and wellbeing markers, particularly a rise in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Such increases in mental health issues could be propelled by factors like unemployment, uncertainty, and financial stress. Furthermore, austerity measures have been consistently linked to poorer mental health outcomes.


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