Inflation is hurting Americans’ mental health

·2 min read

Story at a glance

  • The new LifeWorks Mental Health Index found that people whose basic needs are going unmet have a mental health score 16 percentage points lower than the national average.

  • Rising costs have forced half of Americans to cut back on spending.

  • Only 16 percent said inflation has yet to affect them, even though they expect it will eventually.

Inflation is taking a toll on Americans’ mental health, especially among those who are unable afford basic needs due to soaring costs, according to a new survey published Thursday.

The new Life Works Mental Health Index found that people whose basic needs are going unmet because of inflation have a mental health score 16 percentage points lower than the national average.

Rising costs have forced half of Americans to cut back on spending, the index shows, and only 16 percent said inflation has yet to affect them, even though they expect it will eventually.

Mental health differences were also evident depending on one’s homeowner status, as people who rent homes had lower mental health scores. Federal data shows rent prices increased nationwide in May by 5 percent from last year.

“After years of dealing with pandemic-related anxieties, more Americans are now dealing with a new looming fear of not being able to put food on their tables or have house security due to the sharp inflation increase. It’s important to recognize that financial strain is destabilizing and can impact mental health,” Paula Allen, senior vice president of research and total wellbeing at LifeWorks, said in a news release.

“With this, employees might be more on edge than they were before,” Allen continued. “Good communication and a workplace where people feel a sense of respect and belonging go a long way every day, and especially now.”

LifeWorks’ online monthly survey was conducted from May 2 to 18, 2022 with 5,000 respondents in the United States who were employed within the last six months.

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President Biden is supporting a plan to cut costs at the pump that average $5 per gallon nationwide. This would suspend both the 18-cent federal and average 26-cent state taxes on gasoline.

“Today, I’m calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days through the busy … travel season,” Biden said on Wednesday.

“But we can also cut gas prices even more in another way,” he added. “That’s why the second action I’m taking is calling on states to either suspend the state gas tax as well or find other ways to deliver some relief.”

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