Money and mental health


Millions of people’s incomes have been affected by the pandemic, with many of us feeling stressed and worried about how we’ll make ends meet in the months to come.

More than a quarter of people feel worse off financially since the start of the pandemic, according to research by Yorkshire Building Society. Of those whose finances have been affected, two thirds say it’s had a negative impact on their mental health.

Separate data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that by December 2020, nearly 9 million people had to borrow more money because of the coronavirus pandemic. The proportion borrowing £1,000 or more has increased from 35% to 45% since June 2020.

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Despite the fact many people are feeling increasingly worried and stressed about their finances, rather than discussing our problems, lots of us are choosing to keep our worries to ourselves. Research by financial planning group Tilney found that two fifths of people in the UK (39%) do not believe they can confide in their partner, spouse or a family friend if they feel anxious about money.

Zoe Bailey, chartered financial planner and director at Tilney, said: “If we’re struggling alone with financial worries, then this is only going to make us feel worse. People need to feel like they can access professional guidance where necessary, rely on loved ones when they’re in need of support and find some comfort in just talking to others. It’s been a tough year for lots of us, so recognising the link between our mental and financial health, and prioritising both, will reap rewards for our overall security and wellbeing.”

If your mental health is being affected by money worries, and you don’t feel comfortable confiding in friends or family, there are plenty of organisations that may be able to help.

The following services provide free guidance on money matters:

Mental Health & Money Advice (online only)

Money Advice Service (telephone 0800 138 7777)

Citizens Advice (telephone 0800 144 8848 if you’re in England, or 0800 702 2020 if you’re in Wales)

Pensions Advisory Service (telephone 0800 011 3797)

Pensionwise (telephone 0800 138 3944)

If you need specific help on dealing with debts, you contact one of the following:

National Debtline (telephone 0808 808 4000)

Debt Advice Foundation (telephone 0800 043 4050)

StepChange (telephone 0800 138 1111)

The Money and Pensions Service has a debt advice locator tool to find a free debt adviser in your local area.

A spokesman for the Service said: “Talking about money can be challenging because of feelings of shame, embarrassment or not wanting to burden others. However, opening up to someone can be an important first step to help you regain control of your finances. Research has also shown that people who talk about money feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.”