Over one in five (23%) people in the UK feel financially worse off than when the pandemic began, with two in three (68%) saying it’s negatively impacted their mental health, new research has found.
Among those whose mental health has been affected, the majority (67%) said they were anxious as a result of their fragile finances.
Yorkshire Building Society, who commissioned the research through Opinium, hopes people will use world mental health day as an opportunity to face their finances and take steps to review their money situation and reduce financial anxiety.
The survey showed almost half (49%) of respondents whose finances had been negatively affected this year felt depressed, and two fifths (43%) said they struggled to sleep. Others reported having mood swings (27%), feeling helpless (36%) and one in five (19%) said their work life had been disrupted as a result.
Tina Hughes, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “This latest research is building on the indicators of the serious negative effect the pandemic has had on many people’s finances is leading to poor mental health and it’s important that’s not ignored. We don’t want people to suffer in silence and would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed about their money situation to speak out – talk to someone they can trust, get in touch with the organisations involved with their money, or seek professional help from one of the many great charities available to help.”
Alongside research[ii] released by the Society in June highlighting the fragility of millions of people’s finances across the country with almost one in five (19%) UK adults having less than £100 in savings and the Society’s recent The Nation’s Nest Egg report released last month, consumers are currently facing a £371 billion savings shortfall when it comes to feeling able to withstand a financial shock. The Yorkshire is encouraging customers who have concerns about their finances or experience health conditions that may affect their ability to manage their money, to have a confidential chat with its colleagues to help them better respond to specific needs people may have.
Tina added: “Whilst many people have managed to put away extra savings throughout the pandemic, this latest research clearly shows that different pockets of society have been more impacted than others over the last 18 months.
“For some of those that have struggled during the pandemic and are now confronted by a cut to universal credit, a record breaking jump in inflation in August and rising energy and food prices, the picture this winter is bleak.
“As a society, we are committed to helping support those who may be in financial difficulty, and this year partnered with Citizens Advice to launch an innovative pilot to ensure that we can get financial advice to some of those who need it most. We understand the strain that money worries can have on people’s wellbeing, and so we want to help alleviate this strain for as many people as possible.
As part of Yorkshire Building Society’s commitment to helping people build their financial resilience, the Society fund Citizens Advice advisers to hold free, confidential appointments at least one day a week across six Yorkshire locations.
The appointments are open to everyone in the community not only Yorkshire Building Society customers. The Citizens Advice advisers will offer independent advice in private meeting rooms to assist people with a wide range of issues, including financial wellbeing.
If you or anyone you know is struggling financially, help can be sought at Citizens Advice. Practical advice for those unable to pay bills or struggling with debt can be found at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or over the phone on 0800 144 8848.
Additionally, Yorkshire Building Society has a range of support tools available to help people build their financial resilience and take practical steps to saving more. To find out more or to read the full Nation’s Nest Egg report, please visit the Society’s Money MOT hub.
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