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.
How does being in financial difficulty affect your mental health?
Financial difficulty drastically reduces recovery rates for common mental health conditions. People with depression and problem debt are 4.2 times more likely to still have depression 18 months later than people without financial difficulty.
People in problem debt are three times as likely to have thought about suicide in the past year. There is rarely one single factor that drives people to take their own life. Instead, typically, a range of social issues, life events, cognitive and personality factors are combined. However, there is a strong link between problem debt and suicide, and more than 100,000 people in England attempt suicide while in problem debt each year.
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.
How can demographic characteristics – like gender, age and ethnicity – affect how our experience of money and mental health problems?
Gender can have an impact on how different people experience the link between money and mental health. Our research shows that women with mental health problems are more likely to find it a burden to keep up with domestic bills and credit commitments (59%, versus 52% of men with mental health problems). However, men reported that gendered expectations, such as avoiding talking about your mental health – made it harder to access potential sources of support. Transgender and non-binary people also face obstacles to good mental and financial health, including stigma and discrimination in workplace and healthcare settings.