The cost of living crisis seems to be everywhere we turn – it is being discussed on every form of media available, we are talking about it with family and friends, in schools, and at work. More importantly – it is affecting our lives. Most people are affected at varying levels and are finding themselves trying to work with tighter budgets. Whilst it is important to focus on this, as households and individuals up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet – we also need to be mindful of how these conversations might contribute to people’s suicidal thoughts.

Parents and carers may feel guilty and anxious whilst trying to protect their children from the impact of the cost of living crisis. However, a recent survey by Bloomsburg UK showed that nine in 10 (93%) of 11–18-year-olds are aware of the cost of living crisis. We have recently released a video on social media, that highlights a few case studies. You can watch it here. The first case study states “We spoke to a 12-year-old this week, who thinks that their family cannot afford them – that they are a financial burden in the household”. Very often in these cases, the family has not done anything that led the young person to believe this. This is not the fault of families.

Feeling not in control is a really scary feeling and there is much about the current situation that we are not in control of. However, we are in control of where we source our information from, how often we do this, and how we talk about this with young people. It is important that we talk about it with young people, as there is a lot of scare-mongering content available online that will only increase any worries they have. Young Minds have put together a useful resource for talking to young people about the Cost-of-Living Crisis. You can find this here.

A variety of people contact PAPYRUS via our helpline, HOPELINE247 because they are thinking about suicide. We have heard from people who have told us that the cost of living crisis is impacting how they are feeling. This has ranged from young people to parents, from students to people working full time, and everybody in between. We have also heard from many people who are concerned for their loved ones due to the cost-of-living crisis. If you are thinking about suicide or are concerned for somebody else then HOPELINE247 is here for you. Each call is individual, and we will support you to keep safe from suicide – hopefully, this case study highlights how HOPELINE247 can help:

“A young person called HOPELINE247. They told the adviser that they were isolated and lonely, they have no one to talk to, and that led them to reach out to the helpline.

When the adviser explored more about what was contributing to the young person’s thoughts of suicide, they explained that they have lost their job and are faced with more struggles to pay bills and manage their finances. They are worried about rising energy prices and the cost of living crisis. This has left the young person feeling really stressed and hopeless which makes suicide feel like more of an option.

The caller shared that they feared dying and that this fear was keeping them safe so far. The adviser supported the caller to disable their plan for suicide, to help them to keep safe for now. The adviser explored what longer-term support was available, and the young person agreed to contact their GP to refer them to counselling. The adviser also encouraged the caller to get benefits advice from a local service to see whether they were entitled to any money, following their job loss. The caller agreed to keep safe to explore counselling and benefits advice. The adviser set up a HOPELINK safety plan for the caller so that they had a resource to look back on. The safety plan included distractions and coping strategies for the caller to try, and links to all the services that the adviser signposted to. The caller fed back at the end of the call that they are now more hopeful that there is support out there for them”.

If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, and need a safe non-judgmental space to talk. PAPYRUS is here for you. Call HOPELINE247 for free, confidential advice and support on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org from 9am to midnight every day of the year.

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