Health and wellbeing

When money is tight, you need your health more than ever. On this page we have listed a wide range of advice and support available to help you keep mentally and physically fit during the recession.

Evidence shows that eating well, keeping active and keeping in touch with friends are all key to good physical and mental health.

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A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, shows that many people are adapting through the credit crunch:

“Worry and stress are widespread, but many people are taking a practical approach, and in most cases the lifestyle changes they are making – such as being more active and preparing meals from scratch – are good for both physical and mental health.”

Healthy living and stress busting doesn’t have to break the bank

Exercise or any physical activity from walking around a public garden to swimming, is good for your emotional health. You can access free, or reduced rate activities through Cornwall Council:

Now is a great time to make a Change4Life. You may have seen the national campaign that aims to help families eat well, be more active and live longer.

Cook dinner with your friends as an alternative to dining out.

  • Make your own lunch. Tips for healthy lunches can be found at NHS Good Food.  The British Nutrition Foundation can offer inspiration for delicious and healthy lunch boxes for kids.
  • Eating 5 a day may seem hard work when money is tight, but eating local and seasonal fruit and vegetables should be more cost effective than exotic varieties. Find more inspiration at 5-A-DAY.
  • With nearly 1/3 of the food we buy ending up in the bin, Love Food, Hate Waste outlines how we can reduce our waste and save money (around £420 a year for the average family). Visit the website to find delicious and thrifty recipes for your leftovers.

Support is available for anyone who feels overwhelmed with stress or anxiety.

If you have followed self-help advice, but remain concerned with your mental health and the impact this is having on your daily routine e.g. work and relationships, your local GP surgery can offer support and advice. They can also recommend treatments such as talking therapy or counselling, or advise you of local stress management courses.

  • The Samaritans offer confidential and emotional support to those experiencing personal crises, and help with managing stress. Call 08457 90 90 90.
  • The Stress Management Society offers advice and tips on how to cope with stress. Call 08701 999 235.

During a recession less alcohol may be drunk in pubs and bars, but this does not necessarily mean that consumption is lower as people may drink larger measures at home. Using alcohol to relieve stress may be unhelpful. If you have any concerns about alcohol or drugs, visit Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

Giving up smoking can be very difficult and to give up successfully smokers often have to have a really good reason to do so. Saving money can be a great incentive and if you currently smoke 20 cigarettes a day, then you can save £162 a month by quitting. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Stop Smoking Service can help you give up smoking, save you money and make your life even better. Call (01209) 215666.

If your work situation has changed, it might be a good opportunity to do something completely different. Volunteering offers practical advantages such as developing new skills, building confidence and boosting future career options, as well as helping people feel good about themselves. It provides structure and routine, learning opportunities and can help improve feelings of self-esteem. Below are links to contact details for local volunteer groups:

If you know of any other contacts that may be useful to list on these pages or have any questions, please email