Source > Sky News
By Nick Martin, people and politics correspondent, and Ella Griffith, producer
20 June 2022 07:12 BST
Nearly a third of people say they feel more depressed about the rising cost of living than they did six months ago, a Sky News poll reveals.
As households face increasingly squeezed budgets and with the government under mounting pressure to tackle Britain’s worsening cost-of-living crisis, we asked people how it was affecting them and their families.
Over 60% of people told us they felt more worried than they did six months ago, with nearly a third telling us they were angrier.
Warning: This story contains reference to suicide
Millions of Britons are now struggling as prices soar, made worse by rising energy costs and record inflation.
And with the average cost of a full tank of petrol exceeding £100 for the first time and food bills increasing, many are facing an agonising decision on whether to pay for fuel to heat their homes or buy food to feed their families.
In a poll that suggests the crisis could be having a serious impact on some people’s mental health, nearly a third told us they feel more depressed now.
And one in five people said the rising cost of living was affecting their sleep.
With the wholesale price of gas in January 2022 almost four times higher than in early 2021, 48% said they had turned the heating down in their home.
A third of people told us they were socialising less.
Meanwhile, four in 10 people polled say they have switched to buying cheaper brands or using cheaper stores to cut back.
‘I can’t take the cost of living anymore’
Mental health charities have reported a rise in demand for their services from people who say they are struggling to cope with the hike in the cost of living.
Susan Lopez, 42, is a full-time carer but her pay is low and the hours are uncertain. She is struggling with the rising cost of living – and after all her bills are paid, she is left with just a few pounds to live on.
“I’m working all the hours I can and I should be able to afford to live but I can’t,” she said.
Susan lives alone – and she says her mental health has got steadily worse over the past six months.
She told us: “It’s so hard having to get up every day and put on a brave face when all I’m doing on the inside is falling apart.
“I don’t want to be here anymore. I’ve had enough of life, I can’t take the cost of living anymore. It’s just too expensive.
“I’ve thought about suicide quite a few times. That’s how bad it’s got.”
‘If we do not see funding increasing in line with the demand… then people will die’
A fifth of people on low incomes are up to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than wealthier families, according to Adam Crampsie, chief executive of Mental Health Concern, a charity that provides support for people on behalf of the NHS.
He said: “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people coming to our crisis services seeking urgent help as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
“We’re delivering things at a grassroots level, on the street, to people who actually need that help today.
“And unfortunately, it takes a long time for government funding to reach us, if at all.”
He warned that – if funding doesn’t increase in line with demand for access to the charity’s services – “people will die”.
The government said it is providing a package of measures designed to ease the pain caused by the cost of living.
A spokesperson told Sky News: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the rising cost of living and we are taking action to support households – providing eight million of the most vulnerable households with extra support this year, and all domestic electricity customers will receive at least £400.
“Mental health services will see £2.3bn of additional funding a year by 2023/24 – supporting an additional two million people in England – and we’ve launched a call for evidence to hear from the public about what they want to see in our 10-year plan for mental health.”
If you’ve been affected by this story and want to talk to someone, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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