‘People reading more self-help books amid cost-of-living crisis’

28 June 2023, 20:14 | Updated: 14 July 2023, 09:19

Books on shelves
Hay Festival 2015 – Hay-On-Wye. Picture: PA

Charity The Reader said more people risk being pushed into poor mental health due to financial stress.

People are reading more books about self-help and social and economic issues compared with previous years, in view of the cost-of-living crisis, new research suggests.

A survey of 2,000 adults found that four out of five are reading books and half listen to audiobooks.

More than a third of respondents said they turn to literature about people experiencing adverse times more now during a cost-of-living crisis compared with previous years.

The Reader, a charity providing mental wellbeing support to communities through weekly Shared Reading groups, said its report is being released as more people risk being pushed into poor mental health due to the financial stress of the cost-of-living crisis.

Katie Clark, The Reader’s director of literature, said: “The financial stress of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis is putting more people at risk of poor mental health while, in many places, the support services they need are struggling to cope with demand.

“This calls for a reframing of the conversation around cost of living that highlights the urgent need for more spaces where people can find social support, alongside priorities like warm spaces and food banks.”

A Government spokesman said: “We have helped nearly two million people out of absolute poverty since 2010 and have provided a £94 billion support package worth around £3,300 per household to help those most in need, as well as raising benefits by 10.1%.

“We’re also investing an extra £2.3 billion of extra funding a year by March 2024 in expanding and transforming mental health services in England – so two million more people can be treated by then.

“This includes expanding access to NHS Talking Therapies for adults with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.”

By Press Association