Despite the government ploughing billions into the furlough scheme and supporting an increase in people applying for Universal Credit, new online research from YouGov has revealed that nearly one in five UK adults (19%) said that their financial situation has worsened since the onset of the pandemic and that their mental health has been negatively impacted as a result.
Of that group:
- One in five people (23%) said their money problems have triggered a crisis in their mental health.
- 74% reported that they’ve felt an increase in anxiety over their finances
- Over a quarter (28%) stated that their mental health has significantly deteriorated as a result of money worries
Of those who were not optimistic about their financial situation over the next year, 93% said their mental health will be negatively impacted if their financial situation were to deteriorate over the next year.
Despite this, just one in ten (10%) whose financial situation has worsened* said they felt very confident they knew where to turn for professional help managing their financial problems. Only 7% have sought professional advice to date for their current financial situation and mental wellbeing.
Of those who said they wouldn’t seek professional guidance for help to manage their financial and mental wellbeing 28% said that this was because they would feel ashamed or embarrassed about their financial situation, and 40% also stated that they’d prefer to try and solve their problems on their own.
The research has been published as our Mental Health & Money Advice service launches a toolkit of new resources, funded by the Department of Health & Social Care, to help people manage their financial wellbeing and mental health.
The toolkit has been co-designed with people who have experience of mental health and money problems. It aims to help people understand the relationship between their money and mental health, learn self-help techniques to help manage the challenges they face and take control of their finances
– Kate Cole, age 25, who has a history of depression
Money always becomes a concern when I’m struggling with my mental health, and I’ve found the trade-off between taking the necessary time to recover and working enough to pay the bills incredibly difficult to navigate.”
"When the pandemic hit I was made redundant, and soon began to experience feelings of stress and anxiety when thinking about money. I felt such a stigma applying for Universal Credit; a confusing and difficult process which provided very little.
“I’ve now found a job and feel quite fortunate, but it’s been hard on my mental health and it’s easy to see how these problems can spiral. It’s been a positive experience to work with others to create the Mental Health & Money Advice toolkit, and I hope it helps others who find themselves struggling.”
– Brian Dow, Chief Executive at Mental Health UK
“Mental health services are at increased risk of ‘system overload’ due to the current pressures that money worries are placing on people’s mental health, pushing a worrying number of people to the point of crisis.
“Mental health and money problems often go hand-in-hand and can leave people trapped in a vicious cycle. People often feel unable to confront the reality of their situation or too embarrassed to access the support which would help them get both their finances and their mental health back on an even-keel. This makes people more vulnerable to ongoing financial struggles, perpetuating the cycle.
“It’s so important that people shouldn’t struggle on their own or fear judgement, as help and support is available. The Mental Health & Money Advice service can help people understand how their mental health and financial wellbeing interact, make sense of all the paperwork, and help them feel more confident that they can break the cycle.”
For more information about Mental Health & Money Advice, and to access the free toolkit, visit: http://www.mhma.org.uk/toolkit
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,117 adults, of which 403 said their financial situation has worsened and their mental health has been negatively affected due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2-3 November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
* Refers to UK adults who reported that their financial situation had worsened since the onset of the pandemic and that this had negatively impacted on their mental health.
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