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Mentally ill go without food

Mental health charity Mind has published a new report that shows that debt is a significant factor in worsening our mental health. As the credit crunch hits and the cost of living soars, this worrying new evidence shows the extent of debt's impact, with over 50% of respondents going without food and heating.

"In the red: debt and mental health" is the first ever report to specifically examine the links between mental distress and debt. It includes a survey of over 1,800 people. Of those with problem debt (924 respondents), 91% said that debt had worsened their mental health. It also highlights that people with mental health problems are almost three times more likely to be in debt often as they are living on a low income or can't work - due to difficulties getting a job because of stigma or due to ill health.

Mind found that of those with problem debt:

  • 71% ran out of money every week or most weeks.
  • 87% rely on credit to pay for food and everyday costs.
  • 56% had gone without food due to debt.
  • 51% had gone without heating.
  • 92% reported not being able to socialise.
  • Over 50% were living on a weekly household income of less than £200 - what the government defines as "living on the poverty line".

Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "Money worries aren't just keeping people awake at night; they are causing high levels of stress, depression and in some cases self-harm and suicidal thoughts. At a time when people across the country are anxious about their finances, debt-depression is a real and growing concern."

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