Original Article By: Mental Health Foundation
Summarized By: Neurobit
On January 17th 2023, the Mental Health Foundation of the UK published a report titled "Mental health and the cost-of-living crisis report: another pandemic in the making?". The report is based on data from a poll conducted in Northern Ireland and outlines recommendations for the government to address concerns about potential mental health risks related to the cost-of-living crisis.
The poll the foundation used collected data from 1498 adults in Northern Island through a survey. The results showed that 27% of adults in Northern Ireland reported poorer quality sleep, 22% reported meeting with family and friends less often, and 12% reported exercising less often. The data suggests that people in Northern Ireland are less able to engage in activities that support good mental health and well-being due to financial constraints. The organization is calling for government action to prevent widespread mental health problems in the aftermath of the cost-of-living crisis.
According to Karen Hall, Head of Northern Ireland at the Mental Health Foundation, "On the back of recession, austerity, and COVID-19, the current cost-of-living crisis could be a new mental health pandemic in the making. Poverty and financial stress are rising, and the number of people experiencing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression is likely to increase." She added "We can see that financial concerns drive people to engage less in healthy behaviors that support good mental health. The reductions in these healthy behaviors are red flags that can indicate more serious mental health problems developing."
The Mental Health Foundation has published a position paper outlining evidence-based recommendations for governments across the UK, with a clear priority being to ensure financial support schemes are available to all who need them and prevent people from experiencing poverty and financial stress. They also recommend requiring all government departments to assess the mental health impact of decisions that address the cost-of-living crisis, ensuring that frontline workers are trained to respond effectively to the mental health effects of financial stress and strain, and ensuring energy companies, essential service providers, and creditors have procedures in place to provide a compassionate response to customers experiencing financial strain. Karen Hall added that "We know that our under-funded mental health services are already stretched beyond capacity with people waiting months or years for treatment. We cannot treat our way out of a mental health crisis. We must take action to prevent it, support people to live well, and have good mental health."
Mental Health Foundation. (2023, January 17). Poorer Sleep for One in Three Adults in Northern Ireland as Financial Strain Takes Its Toll on Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/about-us/news/poorer-sleep-one-three-adults-ni-financial-strain