Food. Fuel. Power. Housing costs. This crisis is hitting everyone from all directions with a speed and severity we’ve not seen in decades.
It’s hard to overstate how big an impact this is going to have on our mental health. This is an emergency. An emergency everyone needs help to deal with.
We’re already clear that poverty and mental health problems have a 2-way link that needs to be broken. If we’re not careful, this crisis will push more people into that cycle. We just can’t let that happen.
How is the cost of living crisis affecting mental health?
The cost of living crisis is already taking a huge toll on mental health. Research by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute says that people are already feeling the crisis.
Those of us with mental health problems said they’re washing clothes less. They’re being hounded on bills. They’re watching every single penny. 59% are already cutting back on essentials because of the crisis.
Our Infoline has seen a jump in calls from people talking to us about problems with money, unemployment and welfare since summer 2021. Calls about money now make up a bigger share of all our Infoline calls than they did last year. And people are telling us they’re more on edge about their finances right now.
It’s making that 2-way link between money and mental health clear. More people are experiencing mental health problems because of this crisis. And people who already had a mental health problem are struggling more.
What we think the UK government should do
This crisis is an emergency – and the systems that we have in place right now don’t do nearly enough to help anyone through this crisis. Here’s what we think the UK government should do to make things right.
Make sure benefits can actually cover costs. The UK government has already committed to cost of living payments to help people. And thanks to the hard work of our dedicated campaigners, it has also committed to raising benefits in line with inflation. But both of them aren’t coming until April. This must change - people need support right now.
Create a humane benefits system. This means no more sanctions for disabled people. Making benefit assessments fairer. And making sure benefits pay enough to actually protect people from poverty too.
More money for mental health services. This is key in breaking the 2-way link between poverty and mental health. The stress this crisis will cause people means we need better support now. And as part of this we want to see the promised 10 year mental health review plan put in place.
Need support on money and mental health?
Being stressed about money is exhausting. It’s something that never goes away – no matter what you do the worry is always there. It can put a real strain on your mental health. If you’re worried about money and it’s affecting your mental health, we have some information that might be helpful.