News

The cost of living crisis is harming mental health, partly because of previous cuts to social security

Posted on 6th June 2022 by Dan Price


As the government announces measures to help the cost of living crisis, Kate Andersen and Aaron Reeves discuss the impact of financial insecurity on people’s mental health

The surge in prices over recent months has created a cost of living crisis that is exacerbating insecurity and harming people’s mental health. The Food Foundation warned recently that more than two million adults in the UK have gone without food for a day because of the rising cost of living. This is not inevitable. Yes, when prices rise faster than earnings, this puts additional financial and emotional strain on households. But in contexts where social security is more generous, this strain is minimised. Indeed, in some places, this strain has been entirely removed.1

The problem in the UK is that a decade of austerity means this particular cost of living crisis will be especially acute for families in receipt of social security. Reforms to Universal Credit over the past few years have entailed direct cuts to the generosity of social security payments and the failure to uprate the value of those payments in line with inflation. Social security benefits have therefore fallen considerably behind the rising cost of living. Out-of-work benefit rates are, adjusting for inflation, currently at their lowest for 30 years.2


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Record 420,000 children a month in England treated for mental health problems

Posted on 24th May 2022 by Dan Price

More than 400,000 children and young people a month are being treated for mental health problems – the highest number on record – prompting warnings of an unprecedented crisis in the wellbeing of under-18s.

Experts say Covid-19 has seriously exacerbated problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm among school-age children and that the “relentless and unsustainable” ongoing rise in their need for help could overwhelm already stretched NHS services.

The latest NHS figures show “open referrals” – troubled children and young people in England undergoing treatment or waiting to start care – reached 420,314 in February, the highest number since records began in 2016.


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Mental health: 4 easy ways to practise ‘everyday mental maintenance’

Posted on 17th May 2022 by Dan Price


From taking a trip to the gym to eating nutritious food, taking conscious steps to maintain your physical health is something you probably do on a daily basis. However, when it comes to your mental health, chances are your routine looks a little more lacklustre.

We’ve all got self-care routines we turn to when we’re feeling rubbish – but what about when you’re feeling OK? While the importance of taking care of our mind may not be as ingrained as the physical side of things, making space for regular care is essential to maintaining good mental wellbeing.


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These shocking stories show mental health is still not being taken seriously in England

Posted on 3rd May 2022 by Dan Price


Last summer, a young man – let’s call him Daniel – walked into a hospital A&E department in England and told doctors that he had schizophrenia. He had struggled with his mental health for years, and now he wanted help. But after he was briefly seen by an early intervention team, he was discharged. A few days later, he stabbed a stranger whom he deemed to be a threat to his life, and now he’s locked away in a prison cell. “I’m devastated for him,” his mother tells me, “and concerned for others in similar situations.”

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Take the first step in seeking support for your mental health

Posted on 26th April 2022 by Dan Price

Have you ever found yourself wondering if you need help for your mental health? I have. I was going through a bitter divorce. I couldn’t sleep or eat, and I couldn’t stop crying. At first, it seemed normal to be upset about the end of my 14-year marriage. I was told that these experiences often cause ‘situational depression’, a short-term, stress-related type of depression that can develop after you experience a traumatic event.

It took some time for me to recognize that I was out of my depth. After weeks of misery, sleepless nights, and having lost 20 pounds, I finally had to face the fact that I needed help. Why did I wait so long? There are many reasons, but I think that the most powerful one was the feeling of shame. Having to admit I needed help seemed to me like a defeat, like a personal weakness or a character flaw. The final insult on top of injury. Does this sound dramatic? Perhaps. But I guarantee you that I am not the only one. So many people struggle with asking for help with their mental health.

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Mental health and wellbeing plan: discussion paper

Posted on 20th April 2022 by Dan Price

As Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, I believe it is vital that all parts of society promote good mental health and wellbeing, and provide effective, timely support to people with mental health conditions. Prioritising the nation’s mental health isn’t just the ‘right thing to do’. Shifting the way that we think about and invest in mental health, and tackling entrenched disparities, will level up the country and help our citizens, our communities, and our economy to thrive. That is why the government’s Levelling Up white paper committed to improve wellbeing in every area of the UK by 2030, while closing the gap between the top performing areas and others.


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