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In brief: Mental health of 1 in 2 affected by cost-of-living crisis

Image of UK coins
Anthony | Pexels

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

Cost-of-living negatively affecting mental health of half of adults

According to a new survey by Mind, almost half (48%) of adults living in England or Wales have experienced a negative impact on their mental health due to the cost-of-living crisis, rising to 73% among individuals who already have a mental health problem.

The survey also reveals that the cost-of-living crisis has increased feelings of anxiety in more than half of those already affected by negative mental health (56%).

Additionally, over half of respondents reported feeling increased stress (55%), nearly half felt more depressed (45%), and a third experienced feelings of loneliness (33%).

For individuals with existing mental health problems, the burden of the cost-of-living crisis is even more severe, with two-thirds of respondents reporting feeling increased levels of anxiety (66%), depression (64%), and stress (65%), while nearly half felt lonely (47%).

Unfortunately, many of those impacted are not receiving the necessary support.

More than half of respondents (54%) have not sought support from a GP, and the majority have not accessed online mental health information resources (66%) or sought support from a local mental health charity (71%).

57,000 working days saved for UK businesses by mental health support

Thrive Mental Wellbeing has published its 2022 Impact Report, which showcases the positive impact of mental health support provided by the workplace.

The report highlights that the company's Digital Therapy service resulted in a cost saving of £7.5 million for its clients in 2022, and helped save 57,000 sick days through absence mitigation.

Throughout the year, users of the service accessed a total of 8,864 hours of therapy, addressing issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

The report reveals that 93,761 assessments, 89,488 cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions, 14,654 meditation sessions, and 79,424 goals were completed by users.

Additionally, 23,054 signposting links were clicked by users, indicating their engagement with additional resources.

Thrive Mental Wellbeing collaborates with businesses to try and provide confidential, clinically-led, and evidence-based mental health services for employees.

Happiness and self-esteem associated with risk of BMI, mental health issues

A study of over 18,000 children has found that happiness with appearance and self-esteem play a significant role in the relationship between BMI and mental health symptoms.

Published in eClinicalMedicine, the study used data from the Millennium Cohort Study of children born in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002.

Interestingly, both boys and girls exhibited higher emotional symptoms as their BMI score increased at 11 years of age, which in turn correlated with unhappiness with appearance and low self-esteem at 14 years.

These emotional symptoms persisted and were associated with externalising (e.g. disordered eating) and emotional symptoms by the time the participants reached 17 years of age.

The study also found that bullying was only associated with mental health symptoms when taking place over a long period, while dieting was solely related to BMI.

The research highlighted that young individuals who attempted to restrict their food intake or engaged in excessive exercise were more likely to gain weight during later adolescence.

Additionally, depression and anxiety were predictive factors for low self-esteem and unhappiness with appearance in both boys and girls.

The study found limited evidence regarding the relationship between bullying and BMI, suggesting that it may not be a direct predecessor or successor of BMI.

The study identified certain vulnerable groups, including adolescents experiencing emotional symptoms, engaging in dieting behaviours, or being unhappy with their appearance, who were at a higher risk of developing obesity compared to their peers.

Study finds that most victims of childhood physical abuse recover to psychologically flourish in adulthood

Approximately two-thirds (63%) of adult survivors of childhood physical abuse are in a state of complete mental health – referred to as psychologically flourishing – according to a new study.

The research compared 17,216 respondents without any history of abuse to a nationally representative sample of 853 Canadian individuals with a history of childhood physical abuse.

To be categorised as being in complete mental health, participants needed to meet specific criteria: 1) not having experienced any mental illness such as substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, or suicidality in the previous year, 2) reporting almost daily happiness or life satisfaction in the past month, and 3) demonstrating high levels of social and psychological well-being in the past month.

The study intentionally excluded respondents who had also experienced childhood sexual abuse or parental domestic violence, allowing researchers to focus solely on the impact of childhood physical abuse as a distinct factor from other childhood adversities that often co-occur.

While it is important to note that greater rates of psychological flourishing were still observed among those who had not experienced any childhood physical abuse – 73% – the study suggests that a significant proportion of individuals who have endured childhood physical abuse are able to achieve complete mental health, indicating a degree of resilience and positive psychological well-being.

NHS Leicester launches new mental health self-referral website for under-18s

NHS Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, in collaboration with DHU Healthcare, has launched a self-referral service for young people with mental health concerns.

The online platform, called My Self-Referral, allows individuals under the age of 18, as well as parents and carers, to access information and support without needing to visit a GP.

The service aims to assist children dealing with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

By offering a confidential and user-friendly interface, My Self-Referral enables users to proactively seek help from specialist organisations independently.

The development of the website involved input from young people who are likely to utilise the service, ensuring that it caters to their needs effectively.

Accessible around the clock, the platform provides a cost-free avenue for users to take charge of their mental health and access necessary assistance.

Mental health services manager for Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services for Leicester, Geraldine Burdett said:

“We know that mental health issues can have a profound impact on young people's lives, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to access the support they need.

"This website means that young people do not have to go through their GP, their parent or more formal channels which can be barriers to making that important first step.”


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