Money worries cause mental health problems for more than half of UK employees, a new study has found.
In a nationwide survey, three fifths (60 per cent) of respondents said they had financial concerns that caused them to struggle from anxiety, stress and depression, demonstrating the strong link between financial health and mental health.
The most at-risk group were found to be millennials aged 25 to 34, with a fifth (21 per cent) of those polled stating they struggled with money worries ‘very often’.
The findings, released by UK professional services consultancy Barnett Waddingham, also showed how poor employee wellbeing has negative repercussions for employers.
Two fifths (39 per cent) of employees said that their mental health declined as a result of their organisation not supporting their wellbeing during Covid-19.
This resulted in 30 per cent searching for a new job and a quarter being less productive at work– demonstrating the impact on productivity and retention.
Employees who were put on furlough in March 2020, and remained so into mid-2021, were 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 per cent) of furloughed employees said so, compared to 55 per cent of non-furloughed employees, and nearly a quarter of furloughed employees (23 per cent) said that it’s been the case ‘very often’.
“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 ”
The figure also rose for disabled employees, with seven-tenths (71 per cent) stating that they’ve had financial concerns that cause them to struggle from anxiety, stress and depression, and 30 per cent said this was the case ‘very often’.
Poor financial health and mental health was shown to impact how employees approached spending or managing their money.
Women are more likely to be impacted by this than men, with just under half (46 per cent) of female respondents highlighting this connection compared to 36 per cent of male participants.
Commenting on the study, which involved 2,001 participants, David Collington the principal at Barnett Waddingham, 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.’
Collington encourages employers to prioritise employee wellbeing, not only during periods of economic crisis but ‘consistently and regularly’.
He concludes: ‘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.’
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