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Executive Summary

The UK population is currently suffering as a result of a cost of living crisis, given the dramatic increases in living costs since 2021. The challenges of living with poverty cause stress and emotional strain and can have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Those living in poverty are more likely to develop mental health problems than their peers, and least likely to have access to effective support. Increased costs of living often exacerbate existing mental health struggles.

Shout has seen an increase in discussion of financial difficulties over the past two years since the rise of the cost of living, with ‘cost of living’ currently being the main issue in around 50 Shout conversations every day.

Due to the sensitive nature of their concerns, people in financial difficulty specifically seek out Shout’s accessible, text-based mental health support. Of those who contact us about financial difficulties, 50% want to talk to someone they don’t know and 48% are more comfortable texting than speaking about how they feel.

Our data analysis shows that demand for Shout is highest from people living in the most deprived regions of the UK, based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation. 25% of texters under the age of 18 are in receipt of free school meals.

Half of texters who have financial difficulties experience stress and worry and 36% struggle with suicidal ideation.

Of people contacting Shout with financial concerns, 87% said their conversation was helpful and 65% said they felt more calm after their conversation.

Texters with financial difficulties come to Shout from Google, social media, NHS and GP referrals, as well as from Mental Health Innovations’ partnerships with a growing number of organisations who want to support their vulnerable audiences.

“I’m really thankful for you talking to me and distracting me from my suicidal thoughts.”

Shout texter