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Mind reveals mental health toll of cost-of-living crisis, with 2.7 million people considering suicide because of financial pressure

Friday, 27 October 2023 Mind

Research published by Mind today shows the full impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nation’s mental health, with three in every 50 (6%) people in England and Wales saying they have considered ending their lives because of it.

Other findings include that one in five (20%) people report worsening depression because of the cost of living, and one in ten (10%) developing disordered eating as a result.

The numbers also show the increased impact on people who were already struggling, with the cost-of-living crisis resulting in:

  • People receiving Universal Credit being more than three times more likely to consider suicide because of the cost-of-living crisis than those who don’t receive benefits. [1]

  • A third (33%) of people receiving Universal Credit reporting deepening depression.

  • A fifth (20%) of people receiving Universal Credit reporting disordered eating.

The figures come ahead of the Autumn Statement, with wide reporting that the UK government will not raise benefits in line with inflation. Mind is calling on the government to make sure benefits continue to cover the essentials and to reconsider changes to Work Capability Assessments, reducing already limited support for people too unwell to work.

Nil Guzelgun, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:

“Our findings clearly indicate that the cost-of-living crisis is fuelling a mental health emergency. There could not be a worse time for the UK government to consider a real terms cut to support. The mental health impacts of the economic climate are clear, and people in poverty are bearing the brunt of this.

“It would also be plainly cruel to make it harder to access financial support if you are too unwell to work. An increasing number of us are struggling with our mental health in the wake of the pandemic and because of the cost-of-living crisis. Our decision makers should be boosting support, including through mental health services and more adequate benefit rates.

“If the UK government is serious about tackling the number of people with mental health problems and the impact this is having on the economy, it must fight the effects of the cost of living with a stronger safety net. It needs to raise benefits in line with inflation and revise the plans to change the Work Capability Assessments. Reducing sickness benefits and introducing further hurdles to accessing financial support is not the answer.”

Dominic Vega, 40, who tried to take his own life twice in 2022 due to symptoms from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, found the cost-of-living crisis impacted his mental health greatly after the loss of his job. He said:

“I’m not feeling great about the future. I’m aware there are darker times ahead coming with the cost-of-living crisis, I’m having trauma treatment right now, currently on a waiting list for further trauma therapy, and I’ve got to worry about the cost-of-living crisis. The added stress of the cost-of-living crisis impacted me hugely, because it was fears and anxieties I didn't need on top of my PTSD and depression. It haunts me to this day how I will survive and how I can provide for myself and my son with benefits being looked into and possibly reduced. My mental illness is severe without the cost-of-living crisis putting more stress on me.

“Right now, the most important thing for me is the next day. Only taking things one day at a time. If I start worrying about the future, I’ll revert back to what I’m used to because old habits die hard.”

[1] 13% and 4% respectively.

Notes to Editors 

  1. For more information on suicide, and the potential causes, visit Samaritans at

  2. The research was conducted by Censuswide, among a sample of 3,015 general respondent in England and Wales (England nationally representative by age, gender and region, and Wales nationally representative by age and gender. The sample was also weighted by country. The data was collected between 24.03.23 - 12.04.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

  3. In regard to the headline figure, 6% of respondents said they had considered taking their own lives. Based on the ONS 2021 mid-year England and Wales 16+ population estimate, this equates to 2.7 million people

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