People cutting back on seeing friends and hobbies due to money fears – research

Money worries are stopping people from engaging in some of the activities known to help protect mental health, a survey suggests.

17 January 2023

People are struggling with sleep, seeing friends less often and cutting back on hobbies due to financial concerns, research suggests.

Money worries are stopping people from engaging in some of the activities known to help protect mental health and prevent problems developing, according to a survey for the Mental Health Foundation.

Three in 10 UK adults who responded said they have experienced poorer quality sleep, while 23% said they socialised with friends less often over the previous month.

One in six respondents (15%) pursued a hobby less often, and 12% exercised less.

Some 3,060 adults aged 18 and over in the UK were surveyed for the charity by Opinium between November 7 and 14.

Alongside the polling, the charity has published a briefing: Mental Health And The Cost-of-living Crisis: Another Pandemic In The Making?

This sets out recommendations for UK leaders to tackle the mental health impacts.

The briefing says Governments must ensure suitable financial support schemes are available to prevent people experiencing poverty, financial stress, and related mental health problems, and make fast-track funding available for community organisations.

Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, called the cost-of-living crisis a “public mental health emergency”.

He said: “We need good quality sleep.

“We need to be able to do things we enjoy. We need exercise. We need to be able to spend time with people we love.

“We need to do more than simply survive to have good mental health and wellbeing: we must thrive if we are to prevent mental health problems developing.

“We need our governments to do more to alleviate the negative mental health impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We are protecting the most vulnerable from the pressures of rising prices with a package worth £26 billion, which includes our Energy Price Guarantee, capping the typical household bill at around £2,500 and saving £900 to April.

“We’re investing an extra £2.3 billion per year into mental health services by 2024, which will deliver an additional 27,000 mental health professionals and give two million more people the help they need.

“We have also awarded £3.6 billion to the National Academy of Social Prescribing to support development of social prescribing, aiming to help thousands of people access innovative types of mental health support through a wide range of community-led social activities, services and opportunities.”

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