Food For London Now: ‘Living with hunger can damage you mentally’

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iving in hunger can cause psychological trauma, an expert said today in a stark warning illustrating the importance of our Food For London Now Christmas appeal.

Professor Anna Gupta, a specialist in social work from Royal Holloway, University of London, said people who regularly do not have enough to eat experience pain, anger, discomfort and fear. This can have a long-term detrimental effect on their mental health, she said.

It comes after warnings that half a million children in London will go hungry in the run-up to Christmas if nothing is done to help them.

More than three million people reported going hungry during the first lockdown.

The number of adults who are food insecure in Britain is estimated to have quadrupled due to the pandemic, according to a report by the Food Foundation and King’s College London.

Professor Gupta said: “Being hungry for a sustained period of time will be quite traumatic. There will be memories about pain, anger, discomfort and the fear of insecurity. It could have a long-term impact psychologically.”

She said she was concerned about the rise in people experiencing hunger as a result of the pandemic.

She added: “It is a serious child welfare issue on so many different levels. On a basic level children need nutrition to be healthy, to study and for their social development. It is psychologically traumatic to live in hunger.”

Our Food For London Now Christmas appeal is pushing to combat food poverty, and supporting the food redistribution charity The Felix Project.

Let’s Feed London Now!

Together with our sister title The Independent, we will be delivering food directly to 1,000 Londoners a day through our partner With Compassion. Please donate here to help ensure no Londoner goes hungry this Christmas.