Despite today’s news that inflation has fallen to 2.3% - the lowest level in almost three years- the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) says the UK Governments must still take action to tackle the impact of the cost of living on the nation.

BACP’s new poll and report reveals the extent at which the mental health of the UK’s most vulnerable continues to be crushed by the cost of living crisis.

New data from our annual Public Perceptions Survey1 shows that the cost of living crisis continues to damage the nation’s mental health as three quarters (74%) admit their mental health is being worsened by the current cost of living crisis - an increase of a third since 2022.2

Hardest hit are those that have had a mental health issue in the past five years, with four in five (84%)3 admitting the cost of living and inflation is negatively impacting their health and wellbeing.

After collecting data from the public and extensive insights from therapists and mental health services, we have issued a 13-point action plan to Governments across the UK urging them to invest in counselling and psychotherapy across a range of sectors to make a positive difference in the nation’s mental health.

Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, BACP’s Director of Professional Standards, Policy, and Research, said:

“Despite the news that inflation has fallen, the cost of living is still a major concern for many. The nation’s mental health is on a knife edge and we’re deeply concerned for those most vulnerable who are disproportionately struggling with their mental health and the financial crisis right now. Money worries and the cost of living crisis is a major concern for many but it’s unequally impacting the nation’s most marginalised communities and urgently requires Government attention and investment.

“Mental health services that people could ordinarily turn to are experiencing unprecedented demand, have long wait lists, and are working to increasingly strained budgets – so people are struggling to access the support they need. This is why we’ve sent our report and recommendations to Parliamentarians and key decision makers as it’s vital that Governments expedite the mental health agenda and make it a top priority.

“What’s clear from our analysis is that tackling the downturn in people’s mental health created by the financial crisis will require investment in much more accessible and widely available, appropriate mental health services across a range of settings that provide earlier intervention, and are free at the point of need. Trained yet underutilised counsellors and psychotherapists have a critical role to play within this enhanced offer. But funding needs to be made available to ensure that this critical workforce themselves aren’t additional victims to the cost of living crisis and are paid a fair and sustainable wage.”

Another group that seems to be hardest hit are those aged between 25 and 44, with more than four in five (83%)4 admitting that their mental health and wellbeing has been negatively affected by the cost of living crisis. Women also seem to be significantly more impacted than men (77% vs 70%), as well as those from ethnic minorities (81%), LGB+ people (80%), and those with a disability (79%).5

The nationwide poll also revealed that the wellbeing of those with household incomes under £15k are also significantly under strain as four in five (82%) admit that their mental health has been negatively affected by the cost of living crisis.

Maria Morgan is a BACP member and Mental Health Lead for the Wellbeing Service at Disability Action, which provides counselling support to disabled people across Northern Ireland. The charity has provided more than 5,000 counselling sessions to disabled people and their loved ones over the past three years – but the service has now lost the majority of its funding due to budget cuts.

She said: “The most marginalised in society are having their financial support removed. It’s now at the point where disabled people and their carers are choosing between basic needs such as food or heat and electricity for life saving equipment. This is having a devastating impact on their mental health, leaving them anxious, depressed and fearful of what will happen next and if they can carry on. Support cuts have also meant there is reduced respite and primary care support lending to a decline in carers’ mental health. Our services provide a safe environment for them to navigate the complexities of their emotions without judgement.”

Our report ‘Understanding the cost of living crisis – Valuing our mental health' and recommendations have been issued to Parliamentarians and key decision makers and is based on the expert testimony of therapists and services who have provided vital mental health support to people during these challenging times.

For more information about the report and details of the recommendations please visit



1. About the Public Perceptions Survey: Since 2019, the BACP has conducted an annual survey to measure the opinions and attitudes of the British public towards mental health.  The survey data was collected using a self-complete, online methodology. A nationally representative sample of 5,249 adults (aged 16+) was taken from YouGov’s online research panel and results were weighted to provide a nationally representative dataset. Fieldwork for the 2024 survey was conducted between the 16th and 28th February 2024.

2. Public Perceptions Survey 2022 - 53% of respondents said that the rise in the cost of living and inflation had a negative effect on their mental health and wellbeing.

3. Public Perceptions Survey 2024

4. Public Perceptions Survey 2024

5. Public Perceptions Survey 2024