Looking after your health during the Cost of Living crisis.

The continuing cost of living crisis is adversely affecting people's physical and mental wellbeing, with vulnerable people and those on lower incomes hit the hardest.

For some, that has meant cutting back on lifestyle luxuries and non-essential expenditures. For others, tough decisions on monthly outgoings have meant going without vital healthcare or medication because the cost is too high.

However, you should prioritise your health. Please take a look at our tips to help you keep well. 

Prioritise your health. If you have a chronic condition, a new illness causing concern or feel under the weather, seek the appropriate professional healthcare support. Many pharmacists can support you with everyday health concerns meaning you may not need to visit your GP, and you should only go to a hospital in an emergency.

Take your Medication. Many of us take medication to stay healthy and manage existing health conditions. While rationing your medication and cutting back on prescription spending may save money in the short term, it may lead to health complications in the long run. Prices for NHS prescriptions have been frozen, and prescriptions are free for those over 60.   

Keep your appointments. Please attend any pre-arranged or regular appointments with your GP, dentist, optician or hospital. Bus fares have been frozen across thousands of routes, but if you're worried about the additional costs incurred in booking or attending, check out what support is available to help you when travelling to your GP, hospital or other NHS services here.

Talk to someone. Many charities offer free support if you need to talk to someone about your physical or mental health, and there are charities that provide financial advice if you're struggling. Many charities will be happy to point you towards further help in your community or local area. 

Get the support you're entitled to. Ensure you are getting all the benefits and grants you are eligible for. Citizens Advice is a great place to start if you're looking for help on anything from housing and debt management. 

Speak to your local council. Most local councils offer residents support and advice about the cost of living crisis. They may have a dedicated hotline you can phone or pop-up information events. Check out your local council website to find out more. 

Find a warm hub. In response to the crisis, ' warm hubs' or spaces have been set up across local areas to provide a warm place for people to go. You can usually find the nearest venue on your local council's website.   

Seek help from a food bank. Many people are buying less food because of current financial pressures, but this can significantly impact physical and mental health. If you're struggling to feed yourself or your family, there is no shame in asking for help from a food bank. You can find food banks near you on the Trussell Trust website

Speak to your local Healthwatch. Need advice and information about health and care services, or what support is available from your local council? Your local Healthwatch is here to help you.