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Late 2021 saw the beginning of an economic crisis most of the people living in the UK have never seen before. And its effects are still being felt today.

Here, we look at how the cost-of-living crisis began, explore how it can affect mental health, signpost towards useful money management tools, and provide real-life accounts of the consequences of the ongoing crisis.

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COL in brief

The cost-of-living crisis: In brief

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British Pound Coins
Once in a lifetime
In late 2021, a cost-of-living crisis began which continues to affect households across the UK.
The COVID-19 pandemic, consumer goods and energy prices, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have all played key roles in the crisis.
Most notably in driving up inflation.

In October 2022, inflation reached
That's the highest inflation has been for 
41 years
This means that, for many people, the money they have in their pockets is less valuable than it ever has been.
In fact, in February 2023, the proportion of adults in Great Britain who reported an increase in their cost of living was
Inflation has slowed in recent months, and is expected to continue to drop throughout the year.

Even so, the consequences of the cost-of-living crisis will be felt for years to come.

Statistics and figures

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Stats and figures
The relationship between money and mental health
The cost-of-living crisis is not just a concern for people's bank accounts. Financial stress can increase the risk of mental health issues, which in turn are strongly linked with even further financial difficulties. The result is a cycle that can be hard to break out of. 
People with mental health issues are...
more likely to be living in poverty
as likely to be in problem debt
Paying up to
more each year for essential services like energy and banking
Source: Money and Mental Health Policy Institute Strategy 2019–2024
In England...
The average individual annual income is lower by
for people with anxiety/depression
for people with a long-term condition
for people who have self-harmed
Source: Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
People with problem debt are...
more likely to experience mental health issues
as likely to have considered suicide
Source: Money and Mental Health Policy Institute Strategy 2019–2024
The link between debt and suicidality
The percentage of people experiencing suicidal thoughts increases with level of debt:
no debt
£1–£5k debt
£5k–£30k debt
£5k–£30k debt
Source: Money and Mental Health Policy Institute


Helpful tools

Budget planner

The Mental Health & Money Advice Budget Planner puts you in control of your household spending and analyses your results to help you take control of your money.

Savings calculator

The Mental Health & Money Advice Savings Calculator can help you understand how long it will take to save a specific amount, or how much you need to save  by a particular date.

Debt health check

Developed by MoneyHelper, this tool uses a questionnaire to determine how healthy your current debt situation is.

Debt advice locator

Developed by MoneyHelper, this tool can help you find a professional debt adviser who can provide support on managing your money. 

Do you know any other resources that could help others with financial stress?

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Stories and insights

We're all in this together
 Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash 

Millions of people across the country are currently living with the consequences of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Although this is a daunting thought, there is some comfort to be found in knowing that we are not alone. Which is exactly what we want to create a sense of here. 

If you would like to share your story of how the cost-of-living crisis, please contact us using the button below. 

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And finally... a request
Talking Mental Health is a small team of volunteers with a passion to change the way we think and talk about mental health, for the better. But we can't achieve our mission without you.

If this Spotlight has proven valuable to you, please share it with your friends, loved ones and anyone else you think it could help. 
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