Mental health experts call for greater support for those facing energy price increases this winter

Nov 1, 2023 | Leisure & Lifestyle

A leading North East mental health organisation is calling for greater awareness of the link between mental health struggles and the cost-of-living – ahead of the upcoming energy price increases this winter.

Following the announcement by the International Energy Agency that prices are expected to increase again this winter, Everyturn Mental Health – a non-profit that provides specialist mental health services across the North East – is working to raise awareness of the support available to anyone struggling with their mental health as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. They want to ensure the right support is provided to people before the pressures of winter and increased bills add further pressures.

The imminent new energy price rise, coming into effect in October, is set to see North East households hit worse than other regions in the country, with standing charges due to be particularly high.

The Office for National Statistics found that 24% of people who struggle with paying energy bills are experiencing moderate or severe depression – a statistic three times higher than for those who found it easier to pay bills. The same study found that 59% of people experiencing moderate to severe symptoms are also worried about not being able to save up any money in the next 12 months.

To address these increasing numbers on a practical level, Everyturn Mental Health has teamed up with The Greggs Foundation to help provide financial relief to people referred to their crisis service, ‘Together in a Crisis’ (TIAC), after seeing a rise in referrals over the last two years due to the cost-of-living crisis. Since launching this voucher scheme in June this year, the partnership has issued almost £8,000 of grocery vouchers, pre-pay PayPoint utility, clothing vouchers, and Argos vouchers to 246 local people. Everyturn anticipates the need for further financial support for those in crisis will increase as the weather gets colder and bills begin to rise.

Everyturn’s Chief Executive, Adam Crampsie said: “Data shows that the cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on people’s mental health, and we have seen an increase in people accessing our service with anxiety over their financial situation. With energy prices due to rise again this winter, we’re concerned even more people in our region are struggling and not seeking the support available to them.

”Last winter our crisis services saw an increase in referrals due to people’s financial worries, and we need to ensure that anyone who needs our services gets access to them sooner.”

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health can talk to their GP or visit www.everyturn.org.