Money worries are causing a large percentage of people to suffer from mental health issues, according our latest research which aims to shed light on employee wellbeing in the UK.
Three fifths (60%) of employees have had financial concerns that cause them to struggle from anxiety, stress and depression, demonstrating the strong link between financial health and mental health. A fifth (21%) of millennials (age 25-34) say that this is the case ‘very often’, making them the generation most likely to see their mental health suffer due to financial concerns.
The findings also highlight that poor employee wellbeing has negative repercussions for employers. Two fifths (39%) of employees say that their mental health declined as a result of their organisation not supporting their wellbeing during Covid-19, while 30% searched for a new job and a quarter (25%) worked less productively – demonstrating the impact on productivity and retention.
Employees who were put on furlough in March 2020, and remained so into mid-2021, have been even more likely to face money worries that have impacted their mental health, having faced a reduction in monthly salary and a prolonged period of job insecurity. Seven tenths (70%) of furloughed employees say so, compared to 55% of non-furloughed employees, and nearly a quarter of furloughed employees (23%) say that it’s been the case ‘very often’.
The figure also rises for disabled employees, seven tenths (71%) of whom say that they’ve had financial concerns that cause them to struggle from anxiety, stress and depression. Concerningly, three tenths (30%) of disabled employees say that this is something they struggle with very often.
And the link between financial health and mental health works the other way too, with two fifths (42%) of employees admitting that suffering from stress, depression, anxiety or another form of mental illness affects the way that they approach spending or managing their money.
"Employers have a hugely significant role to play in supporting people’s mental and financial health, and in doing so, they are much more likely to cultivate a healthy and happy workforce"
Women are more likely than men to think this, at just under half (46%) compared to 36% of men. And younger people are particularly likely to feel the effects of mental illness on their personal finances, at almost half (48%) of 18-34-year-olds compared to just a fifth (19%) of over-65s.
Again, disabled employees are more likely to struggle than non-disabled employees, with three fifths (60%) admitting that mental illness affects the way they approach money management, compared to two fifths (40%) of non-disabled employees.
Similarly, half (51%) of employees who had been furloughed since March 2021 said that suffering from mental illness affects how their approach to money management, almost double than the amount of non-furloughed employees who say so, at 28%.
David Collington said: “There’s no downplaying the impact that financial worries can have on our mental health and general wellbeing. Likewise, poor mental health can make it harder to manage money effectively and feel in control of our financial future. Since the pandemic, more employees have seen a fall in their income or changes to their job which can put a strain on households and families.
“It’s important for employers to be prioritising employee wellbeing, not only during periods of economic crisis, but consistently and regularly. Employers have a hugely significant role to play in supporting people’s mental and financial health, and in doing so, they are much more likely to cultivate a healthy and happy workforce that works productively and is loyal to the organisation. People should feel that they can seek support from their employer if they feel they’re not in good financial shape, and it’s causing worry or stress. Simply knowing the benefits that they’re entitled to or the support measures available can be a good step on the path to building greater resilience.”
BW conducted a survey of 2,001 employees in the UK between the 29th April and the 25th May 2021, asking them about the future of work. All respondents were over 18, and sole traders were excluded.
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