Cost of Living Crisis Making a Third of Brits 'Depressed', Taking Toll on Mental Health, Poll Shows
07:21 GMT 20.06.2022 (Updated: 15:19 GMT 28.05.2023)
What with rocketing food and household bills and surging inflation, an increasing number of people in the UK are finding that their earnings are no longer sufficient to make ends meet, with the government urged to help Britons cope with the economic crisis.
As food and energy prices continue to soar, nearly a third of people in the UK feel more depressed about the squeeze of the cost of living crisis on their budgets than they did six months ago, a Sky News poll revealed.
More than 60 percent of people were much more worried now over tasks such as paying household energy and food bills or filling up their car.
After getting over the initial shock of seeing a tank of petrol exceed £100 for the first time, nearly a third of those polled said that they were angry about the choices they now had to make. The average price per litre of petrol and diesel recently soared to 187.51p ($2.30) and 194.17p ($2.40), respectively, according to the RAC motoring organization.
Only a year before, the average price had been at 133.36p for petrol and 136.05p for diesel.
17 June 2022, 06:42 GMT
Many of those surveyed admitted they were forced to choose between paying for fuel to heat their home or buy food for their families. Four in 10 individuals polled said they were now opting for cheaper brands when they went shopping.
As gas and electricity costs have risen respectively by 53.5 percent and 95.5 percent year-on-year, 48 percent of Britons said that a cost-saving approach prompted them to turn the heating down in their home.
A third of the people told Sky News that the burden of problems was making them less eager to go out and socialise.
‘People Will Die’
Furthermore, the poll showed that the cost of living squeeze was starting to take its toll on the mental health of the population. Nearly a third of those surveyed revealed they feel more depressed now, and one in five said the economic woes were affecting their sleep.
This comes as mental health charities have reported a rise in demand for their services. Clients are reportedly being stretched to the limit as they are left with just a few pounds to live on after paying their bills.
Despite taking on extra work, more people are starting to admit they “cannot afford to live”. According to cited mental health charities, some people who seek their help have admitted to contemplating suicide.
A fifth of Britons from low-income households are up to three times more likely to develop mental health issues compared with wealthier families, Adam Crampsie, chief executive of the charity Mental Health Concern, 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," Crampsie added.
He warned that unless government funding increases in line with demand for access to the charity's services, "people will die".
19 June 2022, 12:09 GMT
The poll comes as the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) - used to measure inflation - rose to 9 percent in April 2022, up from 7 percent in March. On 5 May, the Bank of England increased its key rate from 0.75 percent to 1 percent, the highest rate for 13 years, anticipating inflation of 11 percent this autumn.
Furthermore, the sweeping sanctions that the UK and the EU slapped on Russia's financial, logistical and energy sectors after the beginning of Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine inevitably added fuel to the fire.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government imposed sanctions on Russian energy supplies, vowing to phase out the import of Russian oil by the end of 2022, the rising cost of petrol and diesel in the country accelerated inflation.
Amid urgent calls to tackle the cost of living crisis, the UK government said it was providing a package of measures designed to ease the impact.
"We recognize 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 £2.3Bln 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," Sky News cited a spokesman as saying.