Mental health: 'I can't afford therapy anymore because of the cost of living'

  • Mel Rose spoke with ITV Wales Cost of Living Correspondent Carole Green.

A woman from Wrexham who suffers with an eating disorder says her mental health has worsened after she could no longer afford private therapy because of the cost of living.

Mel Rose turned to online support after struggling to see a professional on the NHS, but the cost of going private led to her mental health deteriorating.

It comes as new research has found the cost of living crisis has negatively impacted mental health for many people in Wales, with some having to cut down on essentials like food and heating to make ends meet.

The findings are from a Public Health Wales survey, who looked into the impacts of the rising cost of living, which has been published today.

Ms Rose said: "Last year I was in a crisis, I was suicidal. Because I hadn't seen anyone for a year [on the NHS], I had to go private.

"They were brilliant but it was £80 a week. I'd never had that kind of help before and I felt that I was getting somewhere.

"But my money went down and I couldn't afford them anymore and as a result my mental health went back up."

The research found people with existing vulnerabilities, whether that be financial or medical, are more likely to have their mental heath negatively impacted by the cost of living.

While most people believed they would be able to cope financially through the cost of living crisis, 23% did not think they would be able to cope.

Feeling unable to cope financially was more prevalent in certain populations, including those from low income households, those with mobility issues, and those with children in the household.

Ms Rose said: "To see the difference between the NHS and private therapy - it shouldn't be like that.

"The mental health system is a human right. You should be able to get the health they deserve like when you go to the hospital.

"With mental health, it's not like that. You get pushed to the side. It's like you're ignored.

"When I did the private therapy, it's one of the best things I've ever done but I couldn't afford it every week. It's a lot of money."

Karen Hughes, one of the co-authors of the report, said: “Worry about finances and going without food and a warm home can impact mental health and worsen health conditions.

"Our survey found stark differences in how the cost of living crisis is affecting different populations in Wales, with those with existing vulnerabilities such as low household income and long term health problems or disabilities less likely to feel able to cope financially and more likely to report negative impacts on their physical and mental health.”

Rebecca Hill from Public Health Wales said: “Increases in the cost of food, energy and other essentials are occurring at a time when many people are already financially vulnerable, and are pushing people further into hardship or poverty.

"We know that those living in poverty are at risk of poorer health at all stages of life, and the cost of living crisis is increasing inequalities in Wales.

"Reducing the unfair health gap is vital to strengthen our ability to respond to current and future crises.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the impact eating disorders can have on people’s lives and In 2022/23, we provided an additional £2.5m to improve eating disorder services.

“We expect all health boards to provide specialist, multi-disciplinary support for people with eating disorders.

"The vast majority of people who need to access services, including in-patient care, will receive this care in Wales.

"Where patients do need to receive care in very specialist hospitals outside of Wales, we expect health boards to involve patients and families in these decisions.”

If you have been affected by anything in this article, help and advice can be found here.

Samaritans is available day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

The Mental Health Helpline for Wales is available to take your call any time, day or night. Freephone 0800 132 737 or text 'help" to 81066 (charged at standard network rate)