Comment

Haringey’s mental health is being put at risk by cost-of-living crisis

In our latest cost-of-living column, Conall Ó Brolcháin from Mind in Haringey discusses how the crisis is impacting mental health in the borough

Mind in Haringey staff member Conall Ó Brolcháin (credit Tom Haymer)
Mind in Haringey staff member Conall Ó Brolcháin (credit Tom Haymer)

The cost-of-living crisis has had a huge impact on the community of Haringey which can be seen in almost every facet of our lives, from rising prices in the supermarket, to skyrocketing utility bills, to unprecedented increases in rent. For mental health in our community, this impact is no different. 

My name is Conall Ó Brolcháin and I am the administration and communications manager at Mind in Haringey. We are an independent charity organisation providing vital mental health services to our community, including a one-to-one counselling service, activities such as gardening and yoga, peer support services and advocacy. We work with a diverse group of service users from all over the borough, and it’s clear that the crisis is impacting our community across the board. 

As this situation worsens, we have noticed an uptake in referrals for many of our services as well as an adjustment in the types of requests that are coming through. Themes of housing issues and debt, though always common for our advocacy service, are more pervasive than ever. One service where we have seen a notable impact is the Young People’s Project, which provides one-to-one support for 16-25 year olds in Haringey. Since September, referrals for this project have been rising steadily, with an approximate 40% increase in referrals compared with the previous summer months. The type of support required by young people is also worth noting. Jermaine Nicholson, who works on the Young People Project, said: “Our young people need support, they need more support in affording the costs of day-to-day life. We are getting requests for food vouchers, for heaters for their homes.” This is a clear indicator of the pressure that the current economic climate is putting on young people in Haringey. 

Another project where we’ve seen an increase in uptake is our breakfast club. This is a drop-in service on Wednesday mornings where anyone is welcome to come and share a free breakfast with us. We have seen a weekly increase in the number of people joining us. Though we are happy to welcome them and enjoy this opportunity to share a meal with our community, it is also an indictment of the situation in Haringey at the moment, mirrored by the increase in demand for local foodbanks.  

Overall, our mental health is heavily impacted by our material surroundings. The stress of rent increases, huge utility bills and unaffordable groceries can contribute significantly to causing longer term mental health issues. While this cost of living crisis worsens, mental health in Haringey will continue to be at risk of worsening. Mind in Haringey will remain ever-present in fighting to improve the mental wellbeing of our community as we battle, together, through this difficult period. Historically Haringey has been a place of great resilience, we will endeavour to be part of that in the present and going forward.

For more information about Mind in Haringey, including the referral process:
Visit
mindinharingey.org.uk/our-services


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