THE FACTS What you need to know

Mental health and money problems are often intricately linked. Our research shows that in England alone over 1.5 million people are experiencing both problem debt and mental health problems.

Read a summary of the key money and mental health facts and figures below, or download our factsheet to find out more.

People with problem debt are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems

  • Half (46%) of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem.
  • 86% of respondents to a Money and Mental Health survey of nearly 5,500 people with experience of mental health problems said that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.

People with mental health problems are also more likely to be in problem debt

  • Almost one in five (18%) people with mental health problems are in problem debt. People experiencing mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in problem debt than people without mental health problems (5%).
  • 72% of respondents to Money and Mental Health’s survey said that their mental health problems had made their financial situation worse.
A diagram illustrating the relationship between mental health problems and debt. Four rectangles connected to each other in a loop, saying: “Mental health problems → Mental health problems make it harder to earn, manage money and spending, and to ask for help → Financial difficulty → Financial difficulty causes stress and anxiety, made worse by collections activity or going without essentials.”

How does being in financial difficulty affect your mental health?

How does having a mental health problem affect your income?

  • The income gap for those with mental health problems is significant. People with anxiety and depression have a median gross annual income of £8,400 less than that of people without those conditions.
  • Less than half of people with mental health problems in the UK were in employment in 2018/19 compared to four in five of those without mental health problems (48% vs 79%). When in work, people with mental health problems are more likely to work part-time (37% vs 24%), and are overrepresented in low paying roles. More than one in three (37%) of those in work who have a mental health problem are in the three lowest-paid occupational groups, in contrast to one in four (26%) of those who have not had mental health problems.
  • People with mental health problems are more likely to receive benefits, which provide a low level of financial support. A third of Housing Benefit claimants (35%) and nearly half (47%) of adults aged 16-64 in receipt of some kind of out-of-work benefit have a common mental disorder, such as depression or generalised anxiety disorder. This rises to two thirds (66%) of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a benefit aimed at those unable to work due to poor health or disability.
  • Acute episodes of mental health problems can disrupt incomes too. People can struggle to attend work, maintain their benefit claims, or keep on top of managing their money. In England in 2018, 23,000 people were struggling with problem debt whilst in hospital for their mental health, with thousands more managing debt in the care of a crisis team in the community.

How does having a mental health problem affect your expenditure and ability to save?

Having a mental health problem can affect your ability to access essential services and manage your finances

Support services have a key role in tackling financial difficulties for people with mental health problems

How can demographic characteristics – like gender, age and ethnicity – affect how our experience of money and mental health problems?