New research by Mental Health UK has found that one in six people who have experienced money problems (16%) have experienced suicidal thoughts because of this.
An online survey by YouGov of 2,000 UK adults found that one quarter of adults who have experienced money problems (25%) said they felt guilty about their money problems and 41% felt embarrassed. While just under 3 in 10 (28%) didn’t talk about these problems to anyone, and half of all adults (50%) said they wouldn’t know where to get support.
This is leading to unhealthy behaviour. People who have had money problems revealed that they drank more alcohol (15%) and smoked (13%) more to cope.
People reported feeling stressed (65%), anxious (62%), angry (20%), isolated (23%) and depressed (44%) as a result of their money worries.
Money issues are widespread with nearly 3 in 10 (27%) of people have struggled to pay bills or rent. Mental Health UK estimates that four million people in the UK are at risk of mental health issues because they’re having financial difficulties.
Mental Health UK offers free information, support and advice for anyone affected by mental health and money issues through its Mental Health and Money Advice service.
Brian Dow, Managing Director of Mental Health UK said: “These figures show just how vicious the cycle of mental health and money problems can be.
“People feel embarrassed and isolated, and don’t know where to get help. Instead they bottle up feelings of stress, anger and depression, and turn to unhealthy things like smoking and drinking. Of course, this only makes the problem worse and that’s how things can spiral downwards. As this research shows, this can eventually lead to suicidal thoughts.
“We want more people to be aware of the link between money troubles and mental health problems, to recognise when they might be struggling, and be able to reach out for help when they need it.”
Chris Lynch from Chester said: “My debt problems began at around the same time as my mental health problems while I was at university. I was drinking a lot and debts began to build. As I got into work both mental health problems and debts continued to get worse. At one point I was in £30,000 of debt.
“I never thought I’d be alive long enough to pay it back, so I didn’t really worry about the debt. Looking back, I could easily have ended up homeless or ending my life.”
Half of British adults with a debt problem has a mental health problem, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Debt problems increase the chances of poor mental health – people with debt problems are twice as likely to develop major depression. The more debt a person has, the more likely they will have a mental health problem.
About Mental Health and Money Advice
Mental Health & Money Advice is the first UK-wide online advice service designed to help you understand, manage and improve your financial and mental health.