2017’s Stevenson/Farmer commission review of mental health in UK businesses highlighted the impact that mental health issues are having on workers.
In the report Thriving at Work, the commission found that mental health difficulties cost employers between £33 billion and £42 billion each year. The annual cost to the economy was estimated to be between £74 billion and £99 billion.
Many studies have found that financial wellbeing and general mental wellbeing are closely connected, and that this link exists irrespective of your earnings. Read on to find out more about this research, and how it’s led us to choose our charity for 2020.
The link between financial wellbeing and mental wellbeing
According to research by the Money and Mental Health Policy institute, 46% of people with debt problems also have a mental health problem. In addition, the study found that more than four in five people who experienced mental health difficulties said that their financial situation had made these issues worse.
On the flip side, almost three-quarters of respondents reported that their mental health issues had led to a deterioration in their financial situation.
Other studies have drawn similar conclusions. 2019’s Salary Finance survey revealed that money worries were the biggest source of stress for British workers, with the average employee taking one sick day each year to deal with financial problems. The result of these money concerns included:
- Sleepless nights
- A reduction in the quality of their work
- Difficult relationships with work colleagues
These people were also four times more likely to be suffering from mental health difficulties than those who said they were happy with their financial position.
Interestingly, respondents who earned more than £100,000 reported the same level of concern about their personal finances as those earning less than £10,000.
As Claer Barrett said in the Financial Times: “You can have a successful City career and still be troubled by these questions — debt problems pay scant respect to income. The more you earn, the bigger the debts you can amass.”
The link between financial and mental wellbeing is so close that it can result in more serious mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression with these problems becoming a growing cause of work absence.
Half of all people questioned by the CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing at Work survey in 2018 identified stress as one of the top three causes of long-term absence. 39% said that it was a top three cause of short-term absence.
Employers can support mental wellbeing with financial initiatives
Accessing financial education and advice can help people to improve their financial situation and, in turn, improve their mental health.
While employers have long understood that they can support their employees’ physical health through in-house initiatives such as gym discounts, there is a growing movement by employers to also recognise the benefits of improving the mental health of their staff.
An example of such an initiative would be to include a ‘financial education’ course within an employee benefits package to help staff to better manage their finances. Other ideas could include:
- Access to free or discounted financial advice from a qualified planner. A global survey from Lockton found that savings and investment advice would benefit employees most, followed by mortgage advice
- Access to affordable loans where repayments are deducted from salary
- Free debt advice
- Access to accounts that make saving/investing easy where payments are deducted from salary.
BlueSKY choose mental health cause as their charity for 2020
The work we do can help clients to take better control of their financial situation and have a positive effect on their overall mental wellbeing.
When we sat down in early 2020 to decide which charity we wanted to support in 2020, our shortlisting process led us to an organisation dedicated to providing advice and support to people experiencing mental health issues.
For more than 60 years, MIND has worked to improve lives and their campaigns and support has touched millions of lives.
MIND’s aims are to:
- Provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. This includes supported housing, drop-in centres, helplines and counselling
- Campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding of mental health.
Throughout 2020, we’ll be raising money for this hugely worthwhile cause, with a commitment to supporting both the financial and mental wellbeing of our clients and our community. Keep an eye out for our fundraising efforts!
Get in touch
Improving your financial position can help you to improve your mental wellbeing. To find out how we can help you, please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01189 876655.