Official figures show mental health
crisis for young women in austerity Britain




New official figures released today by NatCen, show that rates of common mental health problems in women increased during the economic downturn, driven largely by a surge in the number of young women suffering. More than one in four women aged 16-24 experienced a common mental health problem in 2014 (28%), a significant increase from one in five in 2007 (22%), the last time the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey was carried out.

Commenting, Polly Mackenzie, Director of Money and Mental Health, said:


“Today’s figures highlight the impact that the tough economic climate has had on mental health across England, but particularly for young women. We know that mental health problems and financial difficulties are intricately linked. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that while women were hit hardest by cuts to public spending, and young women’s employment fell furthest in recession years, their mental health suffered the most too.


Behind these statistics are lives frozen by crippling debt, women grappling with mental health problems while fighting to support a family or struggling to enter the employment market in the first place. It’s essential that today’s figures are a prompt for the Government to act, ensuring that mental health services, as well as debt and welfare advice, are able to meet this rising demand.”





Contact: Helen Undy, 07827917829, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople. 



Notes to Editors

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops 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 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 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey datasets are the only national source of information on rates of untreated mental illness. The survey is carried out every seven years. Full details of the survey and its findings are available here.
  • Two separate analyses have found that women were hit hardest by cuts to public services:
  • The TUC’s report ‘The impact on women of recession and austerity’ found that young women’s employment, which fell furthest of all age groups in the recession years, has still not returned to pre-recession levels – at the end of 2014, it was 59 per cent: