Relying on people in your support network who you can trust – for example, friends, family, and colleagues – can be an important way to help manage your wellbeing, including helping to reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
The YouGov study indicates the increasing toll that rising cost of living is having on the nation’s mental wellbeing, as access to support networks and the ability to afford activities to look after our mental health becomes increasingly difficult.
Of those who were seeing their support networks less, almost two fifths (37%) said they are feeling lonely, and over a third are feeling isolated (36%), anxious (35%), or stressed (32%) because of this.
An alarming three fifths (59%) said they would usually drive to see their network, but fuel is currently too expensive for them to do so, and a sixth (15%) said they cannot afford public transport costs.
A third (33%) of respondents also said they have been less able to afford activities beneficial to their mental wellbeing, since April 2022. Of these,
over three fifths (69%) said they could not afford the cost of taking part, rising to nearly four in five (79%) among 25 to 34-year-olds.
Over a third (38%) can no longer afford the cost of travel to get to these activities, rising to nearly half of 25 to 34 year-olds (44%) and 45 to 54 year-olds (45%).
“We cannot underestimate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nation’s mental health. We know that poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder and financial worries can have a huge impact on our mental health. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle.
“Since last summer, we’ve seen a 40% increase in the number of people getting in touch with the Mind Infoline about difficulties they’ve been experiencing with financial matters such as welfare, unemployment and personal debt. Callers are also regularly asking us if we know of any financial support for them to help with the rising costs.
“This new research suggests a worrying number of us are struggling to afford to see the people we often depend on to help us with life’s ups and downs, and to take part in activities that are beneficial to our mental wellbeing.
“As the cost of living crisis deepens and it may become harder to see family and friends, thousands of people across the country will need better access to mental health support in their community.
That’s why we are so grateful to every Co-op customer, member and colleague who has helped reach that £8million figure through this partnership.
The services they have helped to fund are already making a real difference, with 18,000 people, so far, getting support for their mental health through these. This help comes at a time when it is perhaps needed more than ever.”
“We see first-hand the positive impact that can be had when members of communities come together.
This £8million raised by our customers, members and colleagues will have a huge impact in responding to the desperate need for community engagement and interaction across our towns and cities amidst the cost-of-living crisis.
“Through 50 new mental wellbeing services, Mind, SAMH and Inspire are delivering vital support including those struggling to access their support networks due to the high cost of fuel and transport.
So far, over 18,000 people have been supported through these services and of these, four fifths (81%) feel their mental wellbeing has improved.”
“Sometimes you can convey emotions through poetry which you can’t through conversation. Because when you’re writing, you’re not just sharing words – you’re sharing a feeling, and your audience can feel it too.
Sometimes it’s a sound, a colour or a physical gesture – like putting your hand on your chest – which can be more easily expressed in a creative way.
“When Lola and I first spoke and shared our experiences we formed a mutual connection. It was that bond that helped the process to be so collaborative.
Being involved and sharing my story for this campaign has helped me to bring something into the light and has reinforced what I’ve learnt about myself and my mental health.
“The last line of the poem is, ‘Even when I’m quiet, and even when it’s loud, me myself and I, we’ve just got to stick around’.
For me, that line expresses that you must keep fighting for yourself, and you have what you need to do that within yourself.
It might be loud right now, you might be really struggling, or you might be nice and peaceful, but whatever your experience is right in this moment it’s ok.”
“After an incredibly challenging couple of years with the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, our mental health has taken a huge toll. We know that the earlier a young person can get support for their mental health the more effective it’s likely to be. But we also know that, sometimes, finding the words to say how we feel is tough.
You can feel like you’re talking another language, and that one no one else understands. It can make getting the support we need, harder.
“This new research shows the power that creative outlets can have in supporting young people with their mental health, in a way that resonates and perhaps feels more comfortable than talking might do.
“Through our series of spoken word films we want these stories to change the way we think and speak about mental health problems. We’re so grateful to everybody involved in creating these powerful films.”
Haleem and Lola’s spoken word piece is the third in a series of campaign films produced by Mind and Langland agency. The other collaborations – launched in May for Mental Health Awareness Week – feature Croydon songwriter Jords, with Rohan who has bipolar disorder; and James Smith, from Leeds rock band Yard Act, with Mel, who lives with mental health problems including bulimia and anxiety.
WE FAIL IN EVERY LEVEL TO HELP THE CHILDREN, THEY SUPPOSE TO BE THE FUTURE AND THEY SUPPOSE TO LOOK AFTER US WHEN WE GROW OLD AND LOOK WHAT WE HAVE GIVEN THEM NOTHING BUTY MISERY, CHAOS, INSECURITY AND FEAR WELL DONE TO ALL OF US
Emily Nuttall, 29, is a part-time student from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She has lived experience of anxiety, depression, PTSD, self-harm and anorexia, and also has cerebral palsy. The cost of living crisis has left Emily struggling to afford to travel to her friends and family, who she relies on for mental health support. Emily has been left feeling more anxious, and experiencing suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
She says: “My mum and cousin can’t visit me as much now, as they live on the other end of the island and can’t afford to buy petrol as often.
If I want to see them now, I have to get six buses to get there and back because that’s what I can afford.
My cousin is one of the people I feel most comfortable speaking to about my mental health, so it’s hard not being able to see her as much.
“I live alone in my flat and the lack of social interaction is making me feel isolated. I’ve become much more withdrawn, shutdown and lonely.
My anxiety has increased, and I’m stuck in my head – experiencing difficult flashbacks and suicidal thoughts. I’ve been self-harming more and relapsing with anorexia too.
I just feel like I’ve become completely detached from everyone around me, which is impacting my life and recovery.
“I used to have lots of hobbies – like drama club and choir – and attend social activities too. Those things provide a happy, safe world where I don’t think about anything else.
But I can only do one of those things a week now compared to the four or five I did before everything got so expensive, as well as the travel cost.
“Having independence, the ability to see my support network and take part in activities which benefit my mental health is vital to my recovery – so I’m really struggling.”
This research comes as Co-op customers, members and colleagues have raised £8million for Mind, SAMH and Inspire.
The partnership is funding mental wellbeing services in over 50 local communities across the UK. Over 18,000 people have received support from the services, so far.
The study, which included 906 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK*, also revealed the vast majority of young people – 9 in 10 (91%) – are turning to creative outlets to help them express their feelings when they are struggling with their mental health.
Over half (55%) are listening to music, almost a quarter (23%) are journalling their thoughts, and one in 10 (10%) are writing a song, rap or spoken word piece.
Nearly a quarter (23%) have had a conversation about mental health as a result of hearing or reading about experiences conveyed in music or poetry, and one in three (34%) say this helps to normalise the topic of mental health.
The mental health needs of young people are increasing rapidly, with recent NHS figures showing that over 65,000 young people aged 19 and under were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in April – a 109% rise compared to the same month pre-pandemic.
Lola and Haleem joined forces to compose the spoken word piece and crafted it to reflect Haleem’s mental health problem which began when he was a teenager. Haleem, who lives in Taunton, Somerset, regularly uses spoken word to help him to express his feelings.
“I struggle to find words to talk about how I’m feeling every day – it never really goes away, but it has got easier over time. Spoken word helps me delve deeper.
The process of writing allows me to remember things I’d forgotten and reflect on my emotions, drawing out feelings I didn’t know were there. It’s remembering and reflecting on those feelings which I find particularly cathartic.
“My mental health condition is my superpower, but I haven’t always seen it that way. We all experience life differently, and this goes for our mental health too, so I know how tough it can be to find the words to share what you’re going through. But it can be transformative when we do.
“Being open about my mental health has helped me significantly. It’s enabled me to feel like there are people around me who can empathise with my experience and who are open to having a conversation about it.
I’ve found this helps break down the stigma around mental health both socially and in my own mind.
“I come from an artistic family, so have always appreciated the power of creativity and in fact, it was hearing another artists’ music that first empowered me to recognise my own mental health condition as the superpower that it is.
My condition not only amplifies my creativity, but it also makes me who I am and helps give me a voice to express my emotions.
I want to use it to help more people to understand my condition, as well as their own mental health and in turn, allow more of us to feel understood.
“This is why it has meant so much to collaborate with Haleem and create this poem together. It really helps to meet someone with a similar experience. Haleem was so open and taught me a lot – it was a beautiful process.
I’m excited to have been a part of bringing his story to life and I hope it’ll inspire others to share their own stories, in their own way, this World Mental Health Day.”