29 June

TLMA funding helps MQ Mental Health Research create a cost of living roadmap

Our charity partner, MQ Mental Health Research and the University of Glasgow, with support from The Lord Mayor's Appeal, have collaborated to help the UK better respond to the mental health issues arising from the ongoing cost-of-living-crisis.

This partnership aims to provide a comprehensive roadmap for a whole society approach to protect people’s mental health amid the cost-of-living-crisis.  This project has been driven by the vision of providing solutions, based on evidence, compassion, and best practice to better support people through the crisis and enable societal resilience.

The team has compiled a comprehensive report outlining a spectrum of recommended actions. From short-term emergency measures designed to address the most immediate needs, to long-term strategies that target the structural drivers of the crisis.

The recommendations in the report are based on two main sources:

  1. A literature review focusing on existing scientific evidence regarding mental health and societal resilience's protective factors. This review also discusses the impact of economic crises on mental health, underlying factors, and promising intervention targets at individual, community, and societal levels.
  2. Stakeholder consultations involving representatives from key sectors, including people with personal experiences of mental health conditions, researchers from health and social sciences, community and charity organizations, mental health practitioners, and leaders from both private and public sectors. The consultations were carried out through group interviews to discuss, refine, and enrich the recommendations developed from the literature review.

How will the cost-of-living-crisis impact the mental health and wellbeing of people in the UK?

The cost-of-living crisis' full impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people in the UK is still being determined as the situation continues to evolve. Although specific data is limited, a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that financial concerns have resulted in feelings of hopelessness for about one in ten people, and stress and anxiety for one in three, over the past month.

Evidence post the 2007/2008 recession showed a significant deterioration in mental health and wellbeing markers, particularly a rise in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Such increases in mental health issues could be propelled by factors like unemployment, uncertainty, and financial stress. Furthermore, austerity measures have been consistently linked to poorer mental health outcomes.

What can we do to protect and support people?

MQ’s CEO Lea Milligan says: 

“As the UK navigates a deepening and ongoing cost-of-living crisis, we are witnessing the squeeze of already vulnerable populations while an increasing number of people are being pushed into states of financial distress and poverty. With these alarming developments, a decline in the health and wellbeing of millions seems to be an inevitable outcome, particularly in terms of mental health."

The report offers targeted recommendations and solutions that different sectors of society can action to better support people through the crisis. This includes strategies, tactics and immediate steps recommended to different sectors: The UK Government, Community and third sector organisations, Private sector (Employers) Healthcare, Research and finally for the individual. These steps emphasize a comprehensive, society-wide approach to dealing with the crisis, calling for action from all sectors. The aim is to ensure that the support needed to maintain mental health and societal resilience in the face of the cost-of-living crisis is provided.

UK Government

  • Improve leadership in mental health, through a clear 10 year plan to materialise the actions stated in the NHS’s Action Plan and Mental Health Equalities Strategy
  • No to austerity. Increase funding for social welfare, local authorities and grassroot organisations to support people amid the cost-of-living crisis
  • Reshape economic and social policy to tackle the underlying causes of inequality, and seek a fairer distribution of responsibilities, opportunities and assets across society

Healthcare Providers

  • Increase partnerships and collaboration with health and social services, including grassroot organisations
  • Adopt evidence-based measures to address the practical, physical and psychological barriers for delivering and accessing healthcare
  • Identify and implement best practice models for better integration across the health, social and third sectors

Private Sector

  • Increase investment, articulation and support for community and grassroot organisations
  • Take measures to increase security of employment, income and working conditions
  • Increase transparency, accountability, dialogue and reassurance in decision-making to support people through the cost-of-living crisis
  • Combine supportive measures in mental health, ranging from wellbeing promotion, early intervention, and referral mechanisms to specialised services
  • Community and Third Sector Organisations
  • Fight exclusion and stigma by fostering compassion and belonging in local communities
  • Facilitate integration of support services within the health, social and third sector
  • Help to mobilise communities to advocate for improved health and socio-economic policy


  • Improve evidence on effective interventions to protect people’s mental health and enable societal resilience amid the cost-of-living crisis
  • Generate evidence in accessible and useful formats to inform policy design, implementation and individual decisions
  • Increase co-production with individuals and community organisations


  • Cultivate and practice healthy coping strategies to increase sense of control and emotional resilience, including problem-solving and decision-making strategies and financial skills
  • Cultivate compassion as a skill, and practice it towards yourself and others

Find more information on MQ Mental Health Research here

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