This Time to Talk Day, we share the latest data from Mind that reveals the impact the rising cost of living is having on our mental health
Today is Time to Talk Day, a campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in partnership with the Co-op. It is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation, which has been getting people talking about mental wellbeing since 2014.
This year, Mind is taking a look at the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on our mental health. Data from their latest poll of 5,236 people revealed that more than one in three (36%) adults in the UK aged 16 and over don’t make space in their day to discuss mental health. This reflects 19.6 million over 16s. Additionally, nearly eight in 10 (78%) of those surveyed said that the cost of living is affecting their mental wellbeing. This increases to 94% for those living with an existing mental health problem.
The data also worryingly reveals that almost one in five (18%) of those asked felt that the cost of living decreased how often they spoke about their mental health. Nearly half said the reason for this is that they didn’t want to burden others as many people are struggling right now. This, combined with the lasting effects of the pandemic, is having an impact on the nation’s mental wellness.
The current economic crisis is thought to hinder our ability to continue with the day-to-day ways we usually look after our mental health. For example, of the 18% who said that the cost of living decreased the time they spoke about mental health, one in four said that couldn’t afford social activities that help them stay mentally well. One in four also said they were having to work more hours to balance out the economic uncertainty, meaning they have less free time to socialise.
Most shockingly of all, 16% said they simply cannot afford to contact their support people to have these conversations (whether that’s over the phone, texting, or on social media) highlighting the effects of digital poverty. Mind’s data shows growing concerns that these numbers are set to get worse.
Campaigns like Time to Talk Day are helping by providing advice and resources to spark a conversation around mental health. It’s a vital way to help build supportive communities and open up more conversations about our mental wellbeing.
How can I get involved?
There are a number of ways you can support Time to Talk Day and it can be as simple as checking in with a friend or sharing resources at work.
Co-op is also supporting Time to Talk Day by raising over £8 million for Mind, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), and Inspire, helping to fund mental wellbeing services in over 50 local communities across the UK. Over 22,000 people have received support from the services so far. Why not try some fundraising in your local community?
Every conversation can change a life, so we’re asking you to join in and take a few minutes out of your day to talk and listen. Remember, talking can be virtual too!
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “It’s vital we make space in the day for a conversation about mental health. Yet so many of us are finding that looking after our mental health has taken a back seat. Worryingly we fear stigma if we speak up, we can no longer afford to access the things or places that keep us mentally well, or we don’t want to be a burden on others. We know that talking about our mental health and listening to others about their experiences can help us feel less alone, more able to cope, and encouraged to seek support if we need to. That’s why it’s time to talk and to listen this Time to Talk Day.”
What can I do next?
Signposting your friend, family member, or colleague to further support can be really helpful, whether that’s going with them to their GP, sending them links to charities/local support groups, or encouraging them to seek private therapy.
For further help, we’ve put together a list of resources for supporting others:
How to support someone (without trying to fix them)How to support your friends without sacrificing your own mental healthMental health support: Where to get helpHow to look after yourself whilst waiting for NHS supportHow to help a friend with depressionHow to help your parents talk about their mental health
For information about Time to Talk Day, including tips on starting the conversation, visit timetotalkday.co.uk and follow the conversation on social media #TimeToTalk.
If you’re worried about the current cost of living, you can find out more about how to protect your money and mental health on Happiful.