COST OF LIVING: Negative mental health impact on 25 per cent of young people   

By Lucy Ashton

Following a new report which shows that more than a quarter of young people have experienced very negative mental health as a result of the rising cost of living, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on both of Scotland’s governments to do far more to tackle the crisis.

Public Health Scotland has today published its “Population health impacts of the rising cost of living in Scotland” which assesses the impact of the cost of living on the health of young Scots, who are struggling with the cost of food and flats.

Food and flats – the costs are spiralling out of control and damaging mental health.

The report found that:

  • • 26% of 18 to 24-year-olds reported the rising cost of living had had a very negative effect on their mental health  
  • • 32% of 25 to 34-year-olds reported that the rising cost of living had had a very negative effect on their mental health  
  • • 18% of respondents reported that they skipped or cut down the size of meals, rising to 30% among those not working (excluding students and the retired) and 41% among those with low financial security  
  • • 33% of respondents reported that they stopped or reduced socialising with friends and family due to cost, increasing to 40% among those not working (excluding students and the retired) and 58% among those with low financial security

Mr Cole-Hamilton, right,  said: “The cost-of-living crisis is devastating the health and well-being of too many people across this country.

“People are having to deal with enormous mental stress and anguish. Many are already waiting years for the help they need, but the Scottish Government’s tone-deaf response has been to strip £38m from this year’s funding for mental health services.

“The UK Government must listen to Liberal Democrat calls and put a proper windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies to ease the pressures of sky-high energy bills.

“The SNP/Green coalition must also ensure that every penny at their disposal goes towards supporting people in crisis right now, rather than wasting money on stoking old divisions.

“Neither government has made resolving the cost of living and the impact it has on health a top priority. Unlike them, Scottish Liberal Democrats would invest mental health services with new hope and forge a way out of this emergency.”

Meanwhile, Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “Thousands of children and adults are currently waiting over a year for the help they desperately need. That must feel like a lifetime.

“The Scottish Government still claims it will clear these dreadful mental health waiting lists by March, but waits are getting worse by the day.

“We secured £120 million extra for mental health, but the SNP and Greens have just cut the budget by £38 million.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are determined to give new hope to everyone waiting, building on our leading Parliament in declaring a mental health emergency.

“The First Minister should today adopt our proposals for more counsellors in schools, a single point of contact for those on waiting lists, training to be ramped up so that every workplace can get the benefit of a mental health first aider, and the roll-out of more mental health professionals near to you in GP surgeries and A&E departments.”

One comment

  1. C, Mon Alex Cole Hamilton.

    We’re living the Better Together Brexit Bonanza. What fairy story is it that you say one in four young folk are struggling mentally due to prices.

    Yoill be telling us next that folks are struggling to heat their homes. Now if true, pray tell whose fault that is.

    Frankly,, in the warm bosom of our caring union enjoying all the Brexit benefits, and given Scotland’s incredible gas, oil, hydro and wind, its frankly unbelievable that folks could be living in cold houses.

    I mean why wouldn’t you turn up the heating.

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