Welfare reform, poverty, food bank use and mental health in the UK.

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Ctr for Global Health


This project aims to examine how recent policy changes in the UK welfare system influence the mental health of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity, and how this is linked to the increasing use of food banks in the UK. The prevalence of mental health problems is high among food bank users, affecting over 35% of this population. The causal mechanisms underlying this association, however, are complex: poor mental health may be caused by poverty and food insecurity, but poor mental health may also be the cause of food insecurity and poverty. This project will examine the relationship and underlying causal mechanisms between welfare reform, food insecurity and mental health, with a particular focus on the rise in the use of food banks since 2010 in the UK. It will use quantitative data to examine the causal effect of welfare reform, and to understand how life histories influence the complex links between food insecurity, mental health and welfare benefits. It may also involve in-depth interviews with food bank users and policymakers.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2466253 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2020 31/03/2024 Marina Eirini Kousta