Scots mental health 'worsening' amid concerns over rising bills

A survey found 62% of Scots are worried about paying bills and 52% are concerned about affording food.

Scotland’s mental health worsening amid rising costs due to public service and benefit cuts, charity warns iStock

An increasing number of Scots are experiencing stress, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness due to financial concerns, a new survey found.

A poll commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation involving 1,000 adults in Scotland found 33% have felt stressed and 40% have experienced anxiety.

The rise in inflation and cost of living crisis was concern, with 65% of people worried about how they will pay bills and 52% concerned about being able to afford food over the next few months.

The charity is calling on the UK Government to ensure people at higher risk will be protected from the negative impact of both the cost of living crisis and potential cuts to public services.

This includes protecting benefits so they rise with inflation and increasing capacity at debt services, food banks and community organisations.

Mental Health Foundation Scotland warned of a significant increase in mental health problems without such action.

Shari McDaid, head of evidence and impact, said: “Cuts to public services and benefits will undoubtedly have a negative impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“If people are struggling to meet their essential needs for a warm home and enough healthy food for their families, we can expect a significant rise in mental health problems as the burden of financial strain takes its toll.

“Our mental health services are already stretched beyond capacity, we cannot sit on the sidelines and watch them collapse under insurmountable demand.

“Public and voluntary services play a vital role in supporting people’s mental wellbeing. UK and devolved governments should ensure that staff and volunteers in social security, debt advice and food bank services can deliver support with compassion and understanding of the trauma many claimants will have experienced.

“This can be achieved through dedicated trauma-informed training and ongoing development of staff.

“Our mental health is impacted by our environments and living circumstances. We ask that the UK and devolved governments consider and analyse the mental health impact of all decisions addressing the cost of living crisis.”

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