Just over two thirds of the population have been worried about a friend, family member or colleague’s mental health being affected by stress over money, research has revealed.
The most common indicators were changes in mood and temperament, being anxious, and lacking the confidence to contact their bank.
Meanwhile, 55 per cent of UK adults said they were worried their own mental health or well-being was being affected because of worrying about their finances.
Two thirds are worried about friends or family members suffering because of money worries
One in five of those surveyed by the Money Advice Service said they were currently experiencing poor mental health as a direct result of their finances.
Younger people were thought to be more at risk and for those aged 18 to 34, 72 per cent said at some point they had experienced mental health or well-being issues because of their financial situation.
Women are also far more likely than men to experience, the research claims, with 61 per cent experiencing mental health issues related to their finances compared to 49 per cent of men.
The organisation asked 2,004 people about their experiences of mental health issues and money and the research has been published in connection with Mental Health Awareness Week.
The most common sign to watch out for in another person when it comes to those who may be at risk of these issues is a change of mood, which 36 per cent of people asked said they had experienced. This was followed by an increase in tiredness due to lying awake at night worrying, experienced by 31 per cent.
The next sign was being anxious, stressed, or worried about speaking to a bank, experienced by 22 per cent of respondents, followed by spending more money than is available by 21 per cent and not opening bills or post by 19 per cent.
The organisation is aiming to highlight the link between money problems and mental health. When it comes to helping those suffering, concerned friends and family members said they were most likely to offer their own advice or help, which 30 per cent said they had done.
Just over a third said they had encouraged a loved one to seek help with their finances while 25 per cent helped them contact a GP or other mental health service.
72 per cent of young people had experienced mental health or wellbeing issues liked to money
Struggling with your finances?
If you are struggling to with debts or worried about your finances there is free help and advice out there which can help.
This is Money has put together a 10 step plan to help get out of debt which you can read in full here.
You can also get free help from debt charities and advice websites, which have guides and factsheets or let you speak to an adviser who can help explain your options.
Debt is believed to be the biggest financial issue linked to someone suffering with a mental health illness, and being unable to cope with everyday costs comes closely behind it.
Of all the people contacting the Money Advice Service for help, 59 per cent said they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
In financial terms, those receiving debt advice experience a reduction in levels of depression, anxiety and panic attacks as a result. Quantified in financial terms, the organisation says this equates to a cost benefit to the UK economy of up to £145m per year. This is due to the reduced health service costs and improvements to quality of life across these three areas.
Sarah Porretta, financial capability director at the Money Advice Service, said, ‘Sometimes money worries can be a symptom of poor mental well-being; sometimes poor mental well-being can be the result of money worries.
‘Our research shows that more than half of the UK population have experienced poor mental well-being as a result of concerns about money. And two thirds of us have been worried about a loved one’s mental well-being linked to money worries.
‘Whether it’s finding everyday tasks hard, like keeping on top of bills and bank statements, or finding yourself missing payments, help is available. Talking to someone, and taking the time to focus on your own well-being, is a really difficult but hugely important first step.
‘There is a wide range of guidance available on our website, including our Debt Advice Locator tool, or you can reach out to our mental health partners including MIND, the Samaritans, the Mental Health Foundation or Mental Health UK.’
While Simon Crine, director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: ‘Money problems and mental health issues are a vicious cycle. Being in financial difficulty can have a dramatic effect on our mental health, which makes it harder to earn money, and to manage a budget and get back on track.
‘Today’s research from the Money Advice Service adds to the strong body of evidence for the toxic link between these two issues, and strengthens the case yet further for banks, mental health services, regulators and government to do all they can to tackle it.’
|Change in mood / temper||36%|
|Increased tiredness or lack of sleep||31%|
|Being anxious, stressed or lacking confidence to directly contact the bank or financial service providers||22%|
|Spending more money than is available||21%|
|Not opening bills or post||19%|
|Feeling like there is a lack of control over my/their money||18%|
|Avoiding talking about money||17%|
|Being anxious about spending any money even though it’s available||16%|
|Talking to you or others about their mental health or wellbeing or money issues||15%|
|Avoiding answering the telephone||14%|
|Not checking my/their bank balance||13%|
|Forgetting to pay bills||12%|
|Changes in spending behaviour||11%|
|Avoiding making important financial decisions||11%|
|Unable to take in and process information about money||11%|
|Taking time off work unexpectedly||9%|
|Source: MoneyAdviceService. Prevalence is shown as a percentage of those in UK reporting money and mental health worries in themselves or others.|