New study reveals devastating impact
of mental health problems on personal finances
Money and Mental Health is the new Policy Institute set up by Martin Lewis to tackle the toxic relationship between financial difficulties and mental health problems.
Today Money and Mental Health launch their flagship report Money on your mind. This is the largest study of its kind, drawing on the experiences of nearly five and a half thousand people with mental health problems. The findings are stark.
- 72% of those surveyed said that their mental health problems have made their financial situation worse, and that’s not just as a result of having less money to spend.
- 93% say they spend more when they are unwell
- 92% find it harder to make financial decisions
- and worryingly 59% have even taken out a loan that they wouldn’t otherwise have done.
- Of those who have taken out new credit in the last year, more than a third (38%) said that their mental health at the time left them unable to remember what they had been told about the loan.
Previous research has shown that one in four people with a mental health problem is in problem debt, while half of those in debt also have a mental health problem.
Commenting, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:
“We know financial difficulties can have a serious detrimental impact on mental health, but this report now shows conclusively that it goes both ways – mental health problems can devastate our finances too.
“It’s clear from the study that people with mental health problems are spending more when they are unwell, finding it harder to make financial decisions and in the worst cases, actually taking on new credit that they otherwise wouldn’t have done.
“This is extremely worrying. Our vision is of a world where mental health problems don’t lead to financial difficulty, and where problems with money can be managed without long-term impacts on our mental health. To get there, we need the financial services industry, health and policy-makers to take this issue as seriously as we do with practical solutions. This is my personal call-to-arms for them to please join us and fix this toxic relationship for good.’
Polly Mackenzie, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute added:
“This study offers us an unprecedented insight into the complex relationship between financial difficulties and mental health problems. Some progress has been made in recent years to improve how people with mental health problems are treated once they are in debt, but little attention has been given to preventing this happening in the first place.
The financial services and retail industries need to recognise that a quarter of their consumers have a mental health problem every year – and they may need extra support or protection to stay financially healthy. People with mental health problems do not deserve to be written off to a life of financial difficulty.”
The report also found that, of those who responded to the survey:
- 74% put off paying bills when they are unwell
- 71% avoid dealing with creditors
- And more than half (53%) have ended up seriously behind on payments for at least one bill or loan agreement.
Read the full report here
Notes to Editors
- The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
- It will conduct research and develop policies for banks, lenders, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
- Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded MoneySavingExpert.com in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in- Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
- Polly Mackenzie is the Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. She was previously Director of Policy for the Deputy Prime Minister, working in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office, from 2010-2015.
- The survey was conducted online over five weeks, 4th March – 15th April 2016 and received 5,413 valid responses, all self-identified as having experience of a mental health problem.