Two in three workers say financial situation is affecting mental health

Employers urged to put financial wellbeing policies in place as research also reveals almost a third of adults have no one to turn to for money advice

Credit: EmirMemedovski/Getty Images

The majority of UK adults are concerned about their financial situation amid the cost of living crisis, with money worries proving detrimental to their mental health, research has found.

Analysis of data from 1,428 UK part-time and full-time workers, conducted by Opinium on behalf of MetLife UK in February, revealed that more than two-thirds of workers (64 per cent) have felt stressed, anxious or depressed because of their financial situation. 

Nearly two in five (38 per cent) said their current financial situation has made them stressed or anxious, while a quarter (26 per cent) reported feeling depressed because of it.

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Furthermore, just under a third (31 per cent) of respondents reported a loss of sleep as a result of financial worries, while one in five (21 per cent) reported feeling mentally or physically exhausted.

The analysis also found that financial worries have been affecting both individuals' own and their loved ones’ mental health, with 15 per cent of respondents saying their financial situation has put a strain on their relationships, leading to arguments.

Commenting on the findings, Rich Horner, head of individual protection at MetLife, said the cost of living crisis served as “another blow to [employees’] mental wellbeing” following the coronavirus pandemic.

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Positively, seven in 10 (70 per cent) respondents reported feeling they have someone to turn to for financial advice when times are tough, with more than one in five (21 per cent) approaching a spouse for support, and 16 per cent turning to their parents. 

However, almost a third (30 per cent) said they did not have anyone to turn to for advice about money matters, leading to additional feelings of worry and anxiety.

 While acknowledging that the increase in the cost of living will have negative consequences for both employers and employees, Charles Cotton, senior performance and reward adviser at the CIPD, proposed strategies for employers to help ease their workers’ financial worries.

Cotton advised that, to help staff cope with spiralling living costs, “HR can check whether staff are aware of both the company and state benefits they are eligible for, and can also let employees know where they can find free impartial financial guidance and information to help them with their money worries”. 

He suggested that it might also be beneficial for employers to establish a financial wellbeing policy “that’s aligned with the organisation’s health and wellbeing policy”.

The study’s findings came after a separate poll by Visier, involving 2,010 employees in June, revealed that amid the rising cost of living crisis, nearly half (43 per cent) of respondents would be forced to find other ways to make money if their employer did not help support them.

Of those prepared to hand in their notice, more than three in five (67 per cent) said they would do so to be able to pay energy bills.

In addition, almost a fifth (17 per cent) said they intend to resign to take on a job with a higher salary, while 14 per cent sought to increase their perceived value by showing their employer they can take on another job somewhere else.

For advice on supporting employees through the cost of living crisis, visit the CIPD’s new hub.