Finances affect mental health of two in three people in the UK

Two in three individuals in the UK say that worrying about finances has a significant impact on their mental health, according to new research by Smarterly.

As the UK acknowledges Mental Health Awareness Week, Smarterly's survey, conducted amongst 2,000 individuals and 1,000 HR Managers in May, also found that 90% of employers agreed financial worries had a negative impact on an employee’s mental health.

The research showed another 87% of people also attributed financial woes to having an adverse impact on an employees’ performance.

While this was found to be particularly prevalent across all age groups, Smarterly suggested employees between the ages of 25 and 35 are more likely to be affected, with 74% in this age bracket suggesting that financial worries have a negative effect on their mental health.

Smarterly head of proposition, Steve Watson, commented: “Worries about finances can be all consuming – from concerns about how to cover the mortgage to simply having the funds to put food on the family’s plate. These concerns can take over all aspects of life and have a hugely detrimental effect on our mental health and wellbeing.
“Financial worries often come from a change in circumstances – whether that’s through illness, unemployment, reduced hours or family members who are currently unable to contribute financially.

“For those that can, fostering regular savings habits through a workplace savings scheme can help navigate any ups and downs and provide some reassurance that there is money there to fall back on in case the unexpected happens, the current COVID-19 crisis being a good example.” 

The research also indicated that 88% of employers feel they should support their employees’ financial wellbeing.

Smarterly said that many employers are looking for innovative solutions to help support their workforce with their short to mid-term priorities, such as from saving for a deposit for a home through, or managing credit card debt.

The firm described offering a workplace savings scheme as a “great way to foster those regular savings habits” to help employees feel more in control of their financial situation.
“In today’s climate, with mental health elevating high on every corporate agenda, helping employees with effective financial wellbeing should come as standard,” Watson added.

“Empowering employees in this way is hugely beneficial to the business while mitigating potential mental health issues. Taking away money worries leaves employees feeling much more satisfied and motivated in their job, and far more productive and loyal as a result. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

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