The cost of living crisis is affecting my whole family’s mental health
Saihan is 18 years old and is autistic. He lives in London with his family and mum, Firdush, who told us how the cost of living crisis is causing worry and stress for the whole family.
I’m extremely worried about the rising cost of living, particularly because our family faces extra costs. The constant worry is impacting the whole family’s mental health.
I left work in 2018, as Saihan was going through a bad patch and I needed to be at home to support and care for him. But this has had an impact on our finances.
With costs rising, I’m worried about going into debt. I’ll soon have no choice but to look for work again. My two older sons are already making contributions to help out. But I’m worried this will have an impact on Saihan.
We can’t afford activities that help Saihan feel calm
Saihan has autism and mobility issues, and this means we face extra costs on a daily basis to make sure he has the support he needs.
For example, he gets extremely anxious and this means he can’t use public transport, so we rely on taxis and paying for petrol to use the car. Both of these costs add up. Without this, Saihan would miss out on interacting with others.
At the moment, he’s mostly stuck inside, so his anxieties have risen. The effect is has is complete unrest and unruly behaviour. He can’t comprehend the limitations we have, so to have his only escape taken away from him is really challenging.
Saihan also has sleep apnea which means his breathing stops and starts while he’s sleeping. He has to have a breathing machine on constantly throughout the night to help him breathe. This is expensive to run and takes up loads of electricity, but we don’t have a choice. It would be life-threatening for Saihan if we didn’t keep this equipment running.
We’ve had to cut down on other things as a result. Saihan finds it difficult to understand that you can’t watch TV all day with bills going up. He thinks I’m being quite mean telling him this, and that’s really hard.
The constant worry about money is affecting the whole family
All of this has really impacted my mental health. My husband is constantly worried and is very low at the moment. The biggest impact of the cost of living crisis has been on our mental health.
Due to the sharp increase in living costs I’m mentally unable to cope in so many ways. I have constant worries and am always thinking about where I can make cuts.
I care for both my son and my husband, who is also a vulnerable patient. My anxiety has risen so much, I can’t keep up.
I’ve had to cut back on watching TV programmes, which sometimes takes my mind off things.
Families like ours need more help, financially and practically
I absolutely think those with disabilities and vulnerable adults and children should be given bespoke support from the government. I feel these people are often forgotten about.
Right now we are in need of financial support, but also social support. It would be ideal to have some trips or activities available for Saihan, so he could have more of a social life.
Although I think as a country we have learned a lot about mental health, and we are learning constantly, I think not many people realise the depth of the issue here.
People like me just can’t keep up with the rising cost of living – it’s really hard on us, and some are beyond coping. We need serious support.
Demand more support for disabled people
During the cost of living crisis, we’re calling on the government for:
- A benefits system that meets disabled people’s needs.
- More financial support for higher energy costs.
- Targeted support for disabled people and their families.
Will you join us?