How Mental Health Affects Money Health

Study shows poor financial decisions are the result of mental strain

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(Image: iStock.com/Christopher Futcher)

While many of us have experienced the mental and emotional strain that comes with financial challenges, we don’t often think about the ways in which mental health challenges can actually create financial strain.

A study by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, however, provides evidence that psychological unrest can actually lead to bad financial decisions.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Coming out of the Darkness.

“This report now helps us to understand why. It sheds light on the financial experiences of nearly five and a half thousand people with mental health problems,” says Martin Lewis, Money and Mental Health founder and chair.

“It is an unprecedented insight, and the findings are stark. People with mental health problems told us that, as well as having less income when they are unwell, they are spending more, finding it harder to manage their finances and in many cases even taking on new credit that they would otherwise have avoided,” he adds.

Solutions

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute highlights 3 groups that can provide support to people whose mental health struggles play out in their finances:

  • Financial Services: We urge the financial services industry to build on recent progress by continuing to develop products, settings, and systems to help people stay out of financial difficulties.
  • Retailers: We call on the retail industry to explore ways to support customers with mental health problems, as part of the wider movement on responsible retailing.
  • Health professionals: Health professionals should be aware, when diagnosing mental health problems, of the potential impact those conditions may have on a person’s financial status.

“So a message to those working in financial services, in retail, health and in policy; come with us. To fix this we need you. We don’t have time to worry about what’s taboo any more. Let’s get the conversation started,” says Lewis.

 



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