The current cost of living crisis in the UK is one symptom of pervasive inequalities in our society. Opportunities for financial security and good health are unfortunately not universally accessible. Empowering people to make informed choices and engage in healthy behaviours is crucial. However individual resilience is not enough. This is why MQ’s latest report on the Cost of Living Crisis and Mental Health in the UK shifted the focus to a whole society approach. This is so that we can support people – rather than demanding more from them.
This report was made in consultation with 25 stakeholders, including people with lived experience of mental health conditions and members from public, private, academic and community organisations. The aim was to bring actionable, compassionate, and evidence-based solutions to help people. From the Government to services, organisations and communities as well as individuals, all sectors of society have a role to play.
Alex Winterbotham is founder of OmBeond – a production studio and consultancy producing immersive experiences and products to improve mental and physical health – participated in these consultations, reflecting on the role of technology and the private sector during this crisis. In this article, he reflects on the main takeaways from the report.
MQ Mental Health’s timely report into our mental health in a worsening Cost of Living Crisis makes a series of essential and lateral recommendations for us all. I was delighted to take part in the multi-disciplinary consultation, and my main reflections focused on three key areas and are as follows:
Healthcare providers should dramatically increase collaborations with grassroots organisations (of all kinds).
This would mean they could best understand the nuances of what is being faced at all levels of society and to foster diverse innovation and opportunity.
Nothing gets better by putting the same brains together again and again.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Collaboration with grassroots organisations. Diversity equals progress.
As they currently stand, mental health and well-being interventions reach only a very small percentage of those they need to.
For us to make real progress, we need to address the huge technological proficiency and accessibility gap, which prevails in the world of digital therapeutics (as one example).
Personalised, intuitive and flexible, multi-modal solutions can point to future answers.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Solutions need to be found for making treatment available to more people. Digital therapy could be one such solution.
- Compassion and Nuance Is Necessary
Not only would individuals benefit from a more compassionate and nuanced understanding of personal mental health circumstances, but so would organisations as a whole.
Increasing nuance and compassion in our approach would reduce the lazy reliance on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions which are being clumsily commoditised and scaled.
These one-size-fits-all approaches often have only superficial impact and, critically, do not reach those who are both most financially and mentally vulnerable in our society.
KEY TAKEAWAYS: Generalised approaches help no one. Nuance is much needed in every approach.
Our thanks to Alex for sharing his thoughts on our report. To find out more about OmBeond visit their website and to find out more about our Cost of Living Crisis Report click here. And watch our 2 minute summary video of the report below.