What Kind of Impact Does The ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ Have on Our Mental Health?
Posted on 9th September 2022 at 16:05
A short article on the effects of the cost of living crisis on mental health
Despite coronavirus emerging over 2 years ago, people all over the world are still feeling the harsh effects a global pandemic can bring.
The cost of living, being one of them.
While the cost of energy keeps on rising - so do the rates of mental illness.
As supply chains are disrupted, the world's Governments are at war, inflation continues to increase, and people are still getting back on their feet after covid it's no surprise we’re seeing depression and anxiety emerging at far greater rates than ever before.
Let’s explore this topic a bit more and discuss a few ways to keep your mental health in check despite the toughest of times.
What Issues Are Arising Due to The Cost of Living Crisis?
Much of the world has built their lives on an ever changing, but steady economy.
People have taken out loans, purchased homes, and started families within the means of themselves and the society they live in.
So, when suddenly everything takes a massive leap in price what issues are bound to arise?
For one, many countries are experiencing a housing crisis. Since many homes are now becoming too expensive to afford, and banks are less willing than ever to give out loans, many families risk homelessness.
Even rent in many countries has increased at greater rates than ever seen before leaving apartments out of the question for many families.
In addition, many are struggling to put food on the table as inflation and supply chain disruptions are causing price hikes above normal budgets. This has left many people to choose between other essentials and food.
For example, a survey was conducted among UK citizens by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to understand just how big of an impact the rising costs of energy were taking on the day to day lives of once middle class families.
46% of individuals were reducing the number of meals they were eating per day just to heat their homes.
How Does Money Play a Role in Our Mental Health?
Difficulties with money go far beyond our wallets.
Financial hardships can impact our physical health, relationships, and mental wellness.
Not only can money troubles directly influence our personal lives, but it can also cause us to experience much lower levels of self-esteem, confidence, and drive us to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms.
When we spend our days worried about how we’re going to make ends meet, we don’t give our brains any time to rest. This can cause major disruptions in our sleeping patterns - causing mood swings, irritability, and can put us at risk for depression and anxiety.
In order to escape these stressful thoughts swirling around in our brains we may resort to drinking alcohol, abusing substances, gambling, sex, or other activities that are harmful in the long run.
While these coping techniques may give us relief in the moment - they only worsen our mental health.
How Rising Costs Are Damaging Our Mental Health:
According to a 2021 annual report conducted by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in the UK, large percentages of people reported experiencing a major toll on their mental health due to the rising costs of living.
Those already experiencing mental health problems were twice as likely to report being unable to successfully cope with these inflated prices. For a group already at risk, these statistics are devastating.
Many individuals have reported being unable to sleep at night due to excessive worry about how they’ll put food on the table or support their families. This makes managing their mental health (such as depression or anxiety) nearly impossible.
When each day is spent getting hit with one wave after another of unrelenting bills, past due payments, and dwindling savings accounts, it's no wonder the UK is seeing a spike in mental health problems.
Not only this, but many who already struggle with mental health issues are no longer able to afford to travel to their appointments, causing them to miss otherwise crucial services.
What Can You Do About Your Mental Health During These Price Increases?
If you’re looking for ways to help manage your mental health in some of the most unpredictable times, the Money and Mental Health Institute has an excellent toolkit to help get you started.
This toolkit provides questions that will guide you in talking about your financial and mental health struggles with either a medical professional, or a financial advisor.
With families all over the UK being hit with a 54% energy bill increase, take heart knowing you’re far from alone in your mental health struggles.
While many individuals are waiting on the government to step in and intervene, it’s important to take time to care for yourself despite how overwhelming this crisis can feel.
Meditation in the morning, as well as journaling about your money troubles can both help ease those feelings of stress and anxiety and promote better, deeper sleep. While it may not make your financial strain go away, you’ll be more equipped with a clearer head to deal with whatever may come your way.
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