More than one third (36%) of adults over the age of 16 never discuss their mental health, representing 19.6 million people, a survey from mental health charity Mind revealed.
Mind’s research surveyed over 5,000 adults ahead of Time to Talk Day, a mental health campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. It reported that 96% of people with existing mental health conditions are being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, which is only set to exacerbate mental health issues.
Around eight in 10 (78%) of adults said their mental health has been affected by the ongoing economic crisis, rising to 94% among those with existing mental health conditions.
Nearly one fifth (18%) of respondents revealed that the cost of living is decreasing the frequency of conversations they are having around mental health, with 46% explaining they “don’t want to burden others” during this time as “everyone is struggling at the moment”.
Compared to last year, less adults thought it would be easier to talk about mental health if there was increased knowledge around the subject, at 40% and 32% respectively.
Sarah Hughes, chief executive of Mind, commented: “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.”
For those who reported a decline in their ability to make space for mental health discussions, one in four (25%) said they are unable to afford social activities to “help them stay mentally well”, with the same amount of adults having to work longer hours due to the cost of living.
Mind revealed that 16% can’t afford to contact their support network and 18% are unable to travel to these support networks.
“The cost of living crisis threatens to significantly hinder our ability to continue with the everyday ways we usually look after our mental health,” the charity stated.
The need for personal proactive support
Meanwhile, one fifth (22%) thought it would be helpful to have a member of their local community offer mental health support, and almost one third (30%) would welcome advice to start a conversation.
Adrian Matthews, head of employee benefits MetLife UK, added: “Against the backdrop of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, job security concerns and the dark winter months, Time to Talk Day is a timely reminder for us all to check in on our colleagues. Employers can use this opportunity to reconnect with teams and reappraise what emotional wellbeing support they are providing.”
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