Single dad 'sleepless' with fears mental health will plummet as costs soar

Anthony Lyman says he fears for other people's mental health.

A single dad says his mental health struggles have only worsened as his worries around feeding his family grow between rising bills and costs.

"We're already at the point where we can't take anymore", dad-of-two Anthony Lyman told ITV News.

As peers begin to pile pressure on Liz Truss to honour Boris Johnson's "promise" to uprate welfare during cost-of-living pressures, there are people struggling now while the PM makes up her mind.

Mr Lyman has been diagnosed with autism and is signed off work for the indefinite future. Currently staring down arrears of around £700 with his gas bills, the 37-year-old regularly skips meals and says he has suicidal thoughts because of financial pressure.

'I would like Liz Truss to put herself in my shoes for a few days, for a few weeks, feel what I feel and surely you'll understand'

Mr Lyman had previously declared bankruptcy back in 2019 and recovered, but is now back in debt. Without a credit rating and no way of securing extra finances, he regularly has to visit foodbanks to keep himself and his children fed.

And, without an uplift in universal credit, he is currently sinking further into debt - at a pace of around £300 each month, a figure that is set to rise as inflation continues to spiral.

"With food prices keep going up the fear is that we are just going to be destitute, we already use the foodbanks so where else do we go, how else do we find a fix to the problem that is going on across the whole nation?" Mr Lyman added.

Food inflation has accelerating to 9.3%, up from 7% last month, as food producers passed on hikes in the cost of fertiliser, animal feed, wheat and vegetable oils, much of which is produced in Russia and Ukraine.

The rise in shop prices is contributing to wider UK inflation, which some analysts are predicting could top 18% in 2023.

Inflation - the rate of increase in prices for goods and services - is currently at 10.1%. If a loaf of bread costing £1 rises in price by 5p, the bread inflation is 5%.

'The only way is down, and we are already at the bottom'

As a result of growing anxiety surrounding his finances, Mr Lyman has said his own and others' mental health will only get worse.

He said: "It is a tough thing to talk about mental health, I have a mental health disability anyway and when I went bankrupt in 2019, I should have been on a recovery period.

"So you can imagine that already I need to get myself back up to strength, which is impossible to do when you're up all night worrying about how you're going to pay for tomorrow."

Politicians have voiced their concerns in the House of Lords as Ms Truss faced mounting pressure to raise benefits in line with inflation.

The government has been considering whether to link an increase to earnings rather than the currently much higher measure of prices.

Mr Lyman added: "How can you trust a government that breaks its promises. Regardless of what we are faced with, the government should keep to what they have promised.

"It is scary to think what is around the corner, there is going to be a lot more rising up - we're already at the point where we can't take anymore.

"The scary thing for me, is that I can see higher suicide rates. I can see higher shoplifting and criminal activity from people who wouldn't normally commit that."

'Winter is already a hard time mentally'

Worried about mental health?


CALM, or the Campaign Against Living Miserably, runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat – open from 5pm to midnight every day, for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems.

It also supports those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP).

  • Phone their helpline: 0800 585858 (Daily, 5pm to midnight)

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James’ Place

Suicide prevention centre in Liverpool offering life-saving support to men in suicidal crisis.

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Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues.

It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

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For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice you can contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

HOPELINE247 is the charity’s confidential 24 hour helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.

HOPELINE247 is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.

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Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

  • Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline)

  • Email:

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YoungMinds is a resource with information on child and adolescent mental health, but also offers services for parents and professionals.

It is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health, and wants to make sure all young people can get the mental health support they need, when they need it

  • YoungMinds Textline - Text YM to 85258

  • Phone Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am - 4pm)

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