Rising energy prices are at the core of the cost of living crisis. Young people may not be opening the gas bill, but they’re certainly seeing the tangible effects of those creeping costs.

This week Martin Lewis has warned that although the Energy Price Cap will fall in April, households are still set to pay 20% more on their bills. 

From experiencing the mental anguish of their parents – whether it’s the jarring pile of unopened mail in the hall, countless missed calls on mum’s mobile or raised voices seeping through their bedroom door – our young people are witnessing the impact of rising energy costs at every turn. For many, it’s completely unavoidable.

Young people soak up the stress of those that care for them. We know plenty of parents try to protect their young, but stress and worry have an inconvenient way of bubbling to the surface despite tireless attempts to mask it.

The cost of living crisis has added extra stress and pressure to my household, and to my mental health, and the mental health of those who I live with.

– Young Person from Bristol, age 17 

Cost of Living a Major Teen Worry

National youth mental health charity, Young Minds, explains:

“With rising bills, soaring energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis dominating the national conversation, it’s inevitable that many children and young people, just like adults, are worried about money.”

Research conducted by Young Minds in August 2022 revealed that ‘cost of living was the major worry for over half (56%) of young people. They reported disruption to daily life, particularly their diet and sleep.’

Young Minds has some advice on how to talk to teens about what’s going on and tips for addressing their concerns. Some key take aways are to emphasise that worrying is normal and ensure that you acknowledge any other feelings.

Making Sacrifices

For some the reality may be as harsh as shivering in an unheated bedroom or missing a meal because the cupboards are bare. Declining physical health is the troubling result.

For others, it may seem less extreme – reducing their TV time or skipping that youth session to save on the bus fare – but those are the parts of their day they look forward to and missing out will take its toll on their wellbeing. Declining mental health is the troubling result.

Taking Back Control

We support young people who are dealing with these vulnerabilities every day. Through fun activities, we support young people to learn essential life skills like meal budgeting so they feel more empowered in challenging financial circumstances. Knowing that they can cook a tasty meal on a budget is a comfort to many and helps them regain some control.

As well as cooking activities, we lead creative sessions that can be therapeutic. Crafting in small groups often helps young people open up and can facilitate some powerful conversations to support mental wellbeing.

Coming along to a local youth club gives young people a couple of hours to unwind in a warm space where they can chat to youth workers about any worries in a relaxed environment – with snacks and hot drinks on tap. This can be a moment of hope to those who are struggling.

CYN has provided food at sessions to support me – it's also something to do without spending money.

– Young Person from Bristol, age 17

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