Published: 2 November 2023
People living in Hampshire and Dorset are being urged to talk about their experiences of the cost of living crisis and its impact on their mental health.
University of Southampton scientists are surveying residents about the impact of recent price rises to understand if it is causing greater rates of anxiety and depression.
People facing financial difficulties are more likely to experience mental ill health, according to co-lead Dr Thomas Richardson, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University
He added: “This study will help us understand the impact of the cost of living crisis to better support the financial and mental health of people in our communities.
“We know financial difficulties can impact mental health and vice versa. Anyone aged 18 and older can take part in the survey whether or not they are worried about money or mental health.”
The survey is aimed at people living across Hampshire, including Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, and can be completed online at tinyurl.com/MyBillsMH.
Scientists are also working with nearby charities and organisations which support mental health and provide financial advice to help more people access available support.
Study co-lead Dr Dianna Smith, an Associate Professor of Health Geography at the University, added: “People may feel nervous to talk about debt and mental health but it’s only by hearing about their experiences that we can identify how best to help people with mental health.
“We know from previous work that people are turning to food banks and charities for advice and help, but we need to connect to organisations to give us a complete picture of the impact of higher living costs on people’s lives and health.”
The study has been funded the National Institute of Health Research’s Applied Research Collaboration in Wessex to improve the life and health of communities in the region.