Help & advice
How to get mental health support in the cost of living crisis
3 min | 14 November 2022
According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, people with mental health problems are nearly twice as likely as those without to say they have struggled to cope with the rising cost of living. For many, the choice is between heating or eating, which is causing huge worry ahead of another surge in energy costs.
In July alone, Samaritans received 12,000 messages from people saying they were worried about money or unemployment. This year, mental health charity Mind's infoline has seen a 30% rise in calls about money.
The impact on mental health
If financial stress is having a negative impact on your mental health, you're not alone.
Matthew, 43, from South Wales, says his mental health has been impacted by losing his job and the effects of the cost of living crisis, but is optimistic that things are about to get better thanks to finding support.
He tells us he has always struggled with his mental health, but it’s “got much worse” since Covid.
"With the isolation and rising prices, I've missed out on seeing people – which leaves me alone with my dark thoughts," he says. "I'm constantly stressed about money and how I’ll afford the energy bill this winter."
"I’ve stopped socialising over the past two months to cut back on spending and I feel trapped in my one-bedroom flat."
Matthew told us he looked for support through mental health charities, after his community mental health team said they didn’t have the resources to help.
Matthew relies on government benefits and the cost of living crisis has really stretched his finances. However, knowing his financial situation is due to get better, he says things are looking up.
He explained he has £26,000 worth of debt, but with the help of Citizens Advice Scotland (Opens in new window) that should be written off in October.
"Once my debts have been cleared, it’ll be a big worry off my shoulders," he says. "The government’s upcoming cost of living grants (Opens in new window) should also have a big impact on my finances."
Matthew admits his mental health is still fragile but sees a light at the end of the tunnel: "I’m very grateful there is support out there to help people like me during these worrying times."
Warning: Be aware that writing off debts harms credit scores and can make it difficult to obtain credit in the future.
Impact of life changes on mental and physical wellbeing
In August 2022, Mind (Opens in new window) reported that with 1.5 million people on waiting lists, the cost of living crisis could put the UK’s mental health system on the "brink of collapse, leaving people that are already struggling without the support they need".
Besides unemployment, other challenges could emerge. Women going through the menopause transition, for example, may be juggling stressful stage-of-life events as well as hormonal upheaval. These could include:
- Ageing parents
- Career pressure
- Health problems
- Kids leaving home
These external pressures can make mood swings worse as well as trigger or increase depression.
Dealing with debt when you’re depressed
If you're noticing signs of depression in yourself or others faced with the higher costs of living, it may be wise to seek support.
Financial help charities:
- StepChange (Opens in new window)
- National Debtline (Opens in new window)
- Debt Advice Foundation (Opens in new window)
Mental health charities:
Charities suggested by the NHS offering menopause support:
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute financial or mental health advice.