More people are struggling to pay bills for basics such as food and heating and are increasingly turning to GPs for psychological help, according to a ground- breaking study published by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH).
The impact of the recession in parts of Glasgow is so severe, the researchers are warning it could "cancel out" some of the improvements to health and wellbeing which it was hoped schemes to regenerate social housing would help bring about.
Their findings have been released little more than a week after Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns linked Scotland's entrenched health problems to the decline of the shipyards in the 1970 and 80s and warned the effect of the economic downturn in Greece would have health consequences for the population which will take "generations to repair."
Professor Ade Kearns, expert in urban studies at Glasgow University, has been tracking health and wellbeing in deprived Glasgow neighbourhoods for the GCPH's GoWell project. He said: "We are looking at the effects over a long period of time of agencies trying to do something to improve conditions in poor communities through regeneration.
"One of the questions is if some of the potentially positive effects of that are negated by the effects of the economic downturn and the austerity measures that have been put in place.
"It is potentially a big factor that will affect outcomes for the people we are studying."
He noted that the economic downturn, sparked by the banking crisis, had reduced the speed of the community regeneration schemes themselves, adding: "The initial plans were to do it in about 10 years and I think you could double that now. We will have kids who will have spent their whole school lives in a place being torn down and rebuilt and they will be adults before it is finished."
The latest GoWell research, which looked at the results of surveys conducted in 2006, 2008 and 2011, found while some people were better off, others were finding it harder to make ends meet after the recession began to bite.
It revealed one in five people were finding it more difficult to afford gas and electricity bills and one in seven more difficult to pay for food.
Professor Kearns said "In some groups there is a large increase in the extent of difficulty they have paying for household items.
"In single parent families two in five are having difficulty paying for fuel by 2011 and that is up 10% from 2006. For households with disabled people difficulty affording fuel has gone up from 25% to 40%. If you gross some of these numbers up for the whole city that is a lot of people."
Those who reported growing financial problems to the survey also reported worsening mental health - a finding repeated across four measures of contentment.
A fifth of the Glasgwegians who were finding it harder to pay for fuel or council tax by 2011 also revealed they had seen their doctor about a mental health problem for the first time.
Between a fifth and a quarter of those with greater money worries in 2011 described having ongoing mental health issues which they had not mentioned previously.
Participants were also given scores based on their answers to a mental health questionnaire, which showed the more people struggled with cash, the more they were to show signs of depression and anxiety. Professor Kearns said: "I think the evidence from this study tells a consistent story that the ability of people to cope without an effect on their mental health is dropping as time goes on during the recession."
Billy Watson, chief executive at Scottish Association for Mental Health, said: "There is clear evidence that socio-economic circumstances are key determinants of health, and that factors such as facing financial stress can have a significant impact on an individual's mental health. We know from our own SAMH research that those affected by the recent recession - in ways such as losing their jobs or taking a pay cut - are eight times more likely to have sought help for a mental health problem for the first time."
The Scottish Government has set a target for December 2014 that the standard for referral to the commencement of treatment will be a maximum of 18 weeks, irrespective of age, illness or therapy. Figures for the first quarter of this year indicated that more than 7900 people started treatment and 81% were seen within 18 weeks.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government is aware of the link between poverty, debt and mental health problems and is delivering a range of initiatives to ensure Scots experiencing these issues get the support they need."