Cost of Living: Campaigners warn of looming mental health crisis as families face winter financial trouble this Christmas
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The growing Costs of Living Crisis has been pushing household finances to breaking point for months, as factors including the war in Ukraine and rising inflation forced up prices of key goods.
This has been accompanied by further strains on the wellbeing of the region’s families.
And according to one charity, things have got so bad the number of people contacting it to discuss thoughts of taking their own lives has more than doubled this year.
Adam Crampsie, chief executive of Mental Health Concern (MHC), a charity, said: “The latest figures from our Together in a Crisis services confirm the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the health and wellbeing of our communities.
“Bills are set to increase as we move into the colder months and, as inflation continues to rise, many people’s financial situations will only get more difficult.
"This is especially true for lower earners in our community.
"This isn’t about tightening belts or ‘feeling the pinch’ – it is about people being forced into making impossible decisions daily.”
HMC has reported its Together in a Crisis (TIAC) services in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, North Tyneside, and Newcastle have seen the number of people accessing crisis support increase by almost a third since January.
This includes a 121% year-on-year rise in people with suicidal thoughts accessing its provisions, with many of these cases linked to difficult financial situations, as more people struggle to make ends meet.
Practical help on offer from MHC includes help with setting up packages from food banks, as well as non-clinical emotional support “for anyone experiencing distress”.
Responding to the Cost of Living Crisis, the charity is also hosting a series of ‘Winter Pressure’ events in the region, offering advice and support, including guidance on council assistance on offer, benefits, and financial support, as well as dedicated mental health support.
Mr Crampsie added: “Our team is working courageously to help provide the necessary support for those who need it, but we can only do so much.
"We need immediate action from the Government as soon as possible.”
Call 0191 217 0377 or visit www.mentalhealthconcern.org to find out more.