The cost-of-living and your mental health
According to research by the BACP, cost of living concerns are affecting people’s mental health, with 66% of therapists reporting a decline in mental health as a result. Additionally, 61% of therapists say their clients are anxious about paying household bills. The cost of living crisis has led to worsened mental health issues such as insomnia, affecting 52% of clients who are losing sleep due to money worries.
Furthermore, their survey found that 49% of therapists report clients cutting back on activities that benefit their mental health and 47% of therapists say clients are canceling or pausing therapy sessions due to financial constraints.
Using drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions may provide temporary relief but can lead to other problems such as damage to mental and physical health, relationships, work or study. If you think you may be using drugs or alcohol to cope, it is important to be kind to yourself and seek help from a trusted person or a charity that offers confidential, free information and advice. Consider talking with someone you trust, finding a therapist or joining anonymous meetings such as Talk to Frank.
What can you do?
This article discusses several ways to improve mental health during times of financial stress. One of our tips is to eat healthily on a budget by looking for inspiration from the Association of UK Dieticians, supermarkets, and the BBC. The Trussell Trust can also provide help with buying food essentials.
Another tip is to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep, which can be challenging due to stress, anxiety, and worry. Establishing a routine, avoiding afternoon naps, and keeping the bedroom curtains open during the day can help improve sleep. It’s also essential to avoid mobile devices before bedtime, and Age UK has some useful advice on this topic.
Offering help to others can also be an effective way to improve mental health. Sharing financial management skills and experience with others and volunteering at local food banks can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Donating unused clothes to local charities is also a kind act that can benefit everyone.
Loneliness and the stigma of poverty can be significant challenges, especially when social activity is limited due to financial stress. However, it’s essential to seek help and support without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. In employment, employers may offer extra support, and HR departments can provide confidential advice. It’s also crucial to limit exposure to negative news and social media, which can affect mental health.
Finally, taking some “me time” to reflect on positive moments in the day and practice mindfulness exercises can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.
Help with budgeting
- Citizens Advice online can help with working out your budget
- also try MoneyHelper’s budget planner tool
Check what benefits you’re entitled to
- contact your local Citizens Advice: in England and Wales, Scotland or Advice NI
- use the government’s financial support tool
- use the EntitledTo online benefits calculator
Other websites that can help you manage your debt
Getting support during the cost-of-living crisis
If you need support and would like to talk to someone about how any of this is affecting your mental health, please give us a call on 01492 879907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org