How closely linked are finance and mental health?
Many people acknowledge that their financial state and mental health are closely linked. Not having enough money or struggling to cope with debt could lead to stress, anxiety and, ultimately, worsened mental health.
And this isn’t just hearsay — there are statistics to back it up. Take pension transfer provider True Potential Investor’s Tackling The Savings Gap Consumer Savings and Debt Data Q3 2017 report, for example. It found that a third of UK households face money worries on a daily basis. There is a clear gender split within these figures, with 38.7% of women worrying about their finances every day, compared to just over a quarter (25.8%) of men.
Does employment type impact financial worries? The report’s findings suggest so, although it’s not what you might expect. The employment type found to have the greatest money worries were actually those who work most — working full-time with an additional side-line to generate cash. 45% of this group worry daily, even though on paper, we would assume that a double revenue stream would make this group more financially comfortable than some others.
Employment doesn’t always lead to financial security — as recent media coverage is slowly publicising.
Nurses & Hospital Staff
In 2016, more than 700 nurses and healthcare assistants received RCN Foundation hardship grants averaging at £500 from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The grants are given out to help full-time nursing staff cope with the costs of food, travel, rent and mortgage payments. In total, over a quarter of a million pounds was given out — even though just £56,000 was awarded a decade ago.
A November 2017 survey discovered that 40% of nurses worry about money to a point where they start to lose sleep. 70% said they were more financially worse off now than they were five years ago, while almost a quarter had taken up another job to top-up their income.
Teachers & Educational Staff
Staff in schools are facing a similar scenario. A study by Leeds Beckett University reported on by The Independent has found that over the past year, the number of teachers applying for help from the UK’s main education support charity to pay for housing and transport increased by 40%.
Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has identified a 10% drop in teachers’ salaries over the past 10 years. As financial struggles and money worries rise for many, could this be impacting the mental health of teachers? 54% of teachers reported poor mental health, while 81% said poor mental health negatively impacted the pupil-teacher relationship.
Symptomatic of a wider problem?
Is the rest of the UK’s workforce under similar financial strain? The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development conducted a survey which found that 25% of employees had noticed a change in their job performance as a result of their financial stress. 30% of these employees were found to work in the public sector.
With financial worries mounting across professions, Britain must facilitate greater financial support, awareness and education in order to better support its workforce.
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