The Mental Health Cost of the Cost Of Living Crisis

A new report (from MQ Mental Health Research and the University of Glasgow with support from the Lord Mayor’s Appeal) gives actionable recommendations from which we can all draw hope.

It’s undeniable, right now, we in the UK are living through a cost of living crisis. Many of us are feeling the strain on our mental health. Financial strain can put great pressure on our well-being.

The full extent of the impact – or the cost – of the current cost of living crisis is not yet known but thanks to the Mental Health Foundation we do know:

  • 1 in 10 people say they feel hopeless about their financial situation
  • 1 in 3 people say they feel increased stress and anxiety

What makes it harder for some?

Economically difficult times can affect people in several different ways. Some people will be affected more than others in terms of mental well-being and this isn’t always purely down to pre-established financial security. These sorts of challenging times will be different for each person individually depending on their personal circumstances and many factors. These include:

  • Our genetic predisposition to mental illness
  • levels of inequality
  • support structures we can access / relationships with friends and family

So how can we protect people’s mental health during the cost of living crisis?

The report looks back at previous economic crises and trends that came about as a result, learning from the past to protect our future. To acknowledge, honour and learn from the present too, the report consulted those with lived experience of mental health conditions, those who work with charities, health professionals and researchers themselves.

Thanks to all this work, the report draws some clear insights on how we can look after our own mental wellbeing and that of others during this particular financial challenge.

So what’s the solution?

There is no one-size fits all solution to supporting everyone through this economic crisis that could lead to mental health crises.

Instead the researchers have created recommendations for different sectors that focus on being:

  • Actionable
  • Compassionate
  • Evidence-based

This means we can implement these recommendations as a society, both as individuals and in our organisations and communities, to help support people and prevent mental well-being declining even further during this difficult time.


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