The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on household incomes and jobs has been such that huge numbers of people across the UK have seen their mental health suffer during the crisis.
Millions of people have seen their incomes dimmish and their debts increase since the pandemic began and for a significant proportion the consequences have included high levels of stress and anxiety.
Indeed, according to the charity Turn2Us, more than a quarter of people have had anxiety during the virus crisis and almost one in five have suffered with depression at some stage due to their difficult circumstances.
Around one in five people are believed to be struggling to pay their bills and roughly 15 per cent are understood to be finding it a real challenge to pay their rent or their mortgage bills each month.
Turn2US estimates that close to a quarter of people living in the UK will still be working to recover financially from the impact of the pandemic a year from now.
The charity also expects that people who have lost income or incurred debt over the course of the virus crisis will need an average of 17 months to get back to where they were before the pandemic in terms of their financial situations.
Figures compiled by the charity indicate that certain demographics are under particularly heavy financial pressure in the context of the pandemic, namely women, young adults and parents.
Turn2Us chief executive Thomas Lawson has emphasised the potential importance of the UK government maintaining its £20 uplift in Universal Credit payments as a means of helping people in financial difficulty to make ends meet.
“It will take us significant time to recover from the debt, loss of income and damage to mental health that so many of us have experienced in this pandemic,” Mr Lawson said in a statement.
“Which is why it is so important that the government makes permanent the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and extends it to legacy benefits.”
Helen Undy from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute added: “Mental health problems and debt can be a marriage made in hell, and these issues have become even more acute in the current crisis, with millions more people affected.
“It’s vital that the government strengthens the safety net for people.”
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Unusually high rates of inflation are threatening to sweep many more Scots into problem debt situations and serious financial difficulties.
People with debt problems in Scotland are being urged not to struggle with their issues alone and to reach out for help and support if they need it.
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