FINANCIAL hardship brought on by Covid-19 has caused an eight-fold increase in suicidal thoughts among those battling cancer, according to new research.

A survey conducted Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed that 36,000 people with cancer in Scotland are experiencing some kind of financial impact from Covid-19 - with 10,000 struggling to pay for basic essentials. 

The virus has triggered a wave of mental health problems for those with cancer as more than two in three people are struggling to make ends meet said they have experienced stress, anxiety or depression during the pandemic. 

One in four admitted to having suicidal thoughts in recent months. 

Macmillan Cancer Support is urging the UK Government to increase Universal Credit by £20 in order to support those who are in "desperate need" of help during the crisis. 

Jacqueline Coyle, a Macmillan Welfare Officer in Scotland, said: “I’ve been doing this job since 2008 and the financial implications that come with a cancer diagnosis, is nothing new but there has definitely been a shift in the number of people seeking financial help, particularly those of a working age.

“When you throw into the mix, the knock-on effect of a pandemic, with furlough and job losses, then you can understand the added anxiety and pressures that can bring on top of being diagnosed with cancer. There’s so much uncertainty around. Normally people would receive company sick pay, but of course a lot are on furlough and being made redundant. The volume of concern and desperation has increased considerably.

“Online applications for Universal Credit can throw up many challenges - it’s not easy. 

"They find themselves unable to pay bills, unable to put food on the table and quite possibly struggling to keep a roof over their head."

Having witnessed first-hand people’s lives being turned upside down when they discover they have cancer, Jacqueline added: “It’s life changing. 

"Getting help financially - whether it’s Universal Credit, PIP, council tax reduction or a Macmillan grant -  can go a long way to easing the incredible weight that lands upon people’s shoulders.

"Everyone’s money situation is complex and different - there’s so much to sort and deal with.

“The extra £20 increase on Universal Credit, that’s paying for someone’s energy bill, that’s paying for food. When you have nothing, £20 is everything.”

For anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact Samaritans on 116 123.

Anyone can contact Samaritans for free in confidence any time from any phone, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email