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Money worries ‘affecting mental well-being of more than half of UK adults’


NEARLY two-thirds of people say that stress over money has affected someone they know, a survey has found.

The Government-backed Money Advice Service (MAS) found 63% of UK adults have seen stress over money affect the mental health or well-being of someone such as a family member, friend or partner.

More than half (55%) of people surveyed had experienced concerns over their own mental health or well-being because of money worries at some point in their lives – with more than one in five (22%) saying that they are currently experiencing mental ill-health or poor mental well-being because of money.

Younger people are particularly at risk – the findings suggest – with nearly three-quarters (72%) of 18 to 34-year-olds having at some point experienced mental health or well-being issues linked to money.

Women are also much more likely than men to report the same, at 61% of women versus 49% of men, the survey of more than 2,000 people found.

The research was released in support of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 14 to 20).

The MAS has developed a checklist, identifying the signs to look out for if you’re concerned that money worries are affecting your own or someone else’s mental health or well-being.

According to the research, the most common signs include noticeable changes in mood or temperament and increased tiredness due to lying awake at night.

Sarah Porretta, financial capability director at the MAS, 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.”

She continued: “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.”

Here are some common signs that someone may be experiencing mental ill-health or poor mental well-being due to money worries, according to the MAS:

– Change in mood

– Increased tiredness or lack of sleep

– Being anxious, stressed or lacking confidence to directly contact the bank or financial service providers

– Spending more money than is available

– Not opening bills or post

– Feeling like there is a lack of control over money

– Avoiding talking about money

– Avoiding answering the telephone

– Not checking bank balances

– Forgetting to pay bills

– Changes in spending behaviour

– Avoiding making important financial decisions