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Looking into the link between financial and mental health

August 17, 2018

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Your financial status can have a profound effect on your mental health. If you are struggling for money, or deep in debt, you could suffer from stress, anxiety and, ultimately, worsened mental health. Likewise, if you are going through a period of poorer mental health, you may find that you are spending more on impulse buys in a bid to improve your short-term mood. Over time, this behaviour can cause more financial worries which, if you fail to address them, could lead to further mental health concerns.

UK personal pension provider, True Potential Investor, released its Tackling The Savings Gap Consumer Savings and Debt Data Q3 2017 report which found that a third of UK households faced a daily battle with money worries. There is a clear gender split within these figures, with 38.7% of women worrying about their finances every day, compared to just over a quarter (25.8%) of men.

Breaking down the report down across employment types, it was evident that full-time workers who have an additional side-line to generate cash were those who worried most, with 45% of this bracket worrying daily. This is an interesting find as, we would assume that a double revenue stream would make this group more financially comfortable than some others.

Most people are under the assumption that having a secure employment will lead to financial security. Recently, however, the media has been awash with reports of professionals falling victim to financial struggles — despite their traditionally well-regarded careers.


Nursing Staff
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) awarded more than 700 nurses and healthcare assistants RCN Foundation hardship grants in 2016, according to a 2017 press release. These grants were said to be worth an average of £500 and are given out to help full-time nursing staff cope with the costs of food, travel, rent and mortgage payments. In total, over a quarter of a million pounds was given out — even though just £56,000 was awarded a decade ago.

A survey by the RCN in November 2017, revealed that over 40% of nurses lose sleep because of money worries. Worryingly, 70% said they were more financially worse off now than they were five years ago, while almost a quarter had taken up another job to top-up their income.


Teachers
It is a similarly fraught situation for teachers too. A study by Leeds Beckett University reported on by The Independent has found that over the past year, the number of teachers applying for help from the UK’s main education support charity to pay for housing and transport increased by 40%.

A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) details that salaries for teachers have dropped by more than a tenth over the past decade. As financial struggles and money worries rise for many, could this be impacting the mental health of teachers? 54% of teachers reported poor mental health, while 81% said poor mental health negatively impacted the pupil-teacher relationship.


A broader problem?
While the media has broadly documented the financial and mental problems experienced by teachers and healthcare professionals, it appears that this problem is wide-spread amongst the UK’s workforce.

A third of the UK’s workforce state financial worries as their biggest concern, according to a report by Neyber’s The DNA of Financial Wellbeing in 2017. Thirty-five per cent said they were unhappy with their existing financial situation, while just under a quarter have lost sleep over their money worries.

A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed that a quarter of employees believed their performance in their role was being impacted due to worrying about money. Thirty percent of these employees were found to work in the public sector.

In all, it’s clear that more needs to be done around financial support, awareness and education as financial worries continue to impact Britain’s employee population — whether this is through increasing salaries or improved money management. With money worries clearly having an impact on our mental health, addressing the issue could lead to benefits across the UK’s workforce.


Sources

https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/news/more-nurses-apply-for-financial-help

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-nurses-sleep-unable-pay-wages-financial-anxiety-survey-results-rcn-pay-cap-budget-a8055151.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-teachers-mental-health-diagnose-issues-targets-education-school-pupils-exams-a8174101.html

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/sep/12/teachers-pay-in-england-down-12-per-cent-10-years-influential-study-reveals

https://www.neyber.co.uk/reports/dna_financial_wellbeing_2017.pdf

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