The State We're In
Money and mental health in a time of crisis
PLEASE NOTE: This research contains information on the subject of suicide that some people may find distressing
This report offers a state-of-the-nation snapshot of the financial and mental wellbeing of people across the UK during the pandemic.
It reveals that during the Covid crisis, people with mental health problems faced a much higher risk of financial hardship compared to the wider population.
Our findings show that during the pandemic people with mental health problems were:
- More than twice as likely to have relied on credit or borrowing to cover every day spending — for example, on food or heating (26% compared to 11%).
- At high risk of considering suicide when behind on payments. 44% of UK adults with mental health problems who fell behind on bills last year either considered or attempted to take their own life. If reflected nationally, that amounts to 2.5m in people in total.
- The government should prioritise tackling the links between debt, mental health problems and suicide in its pandemic recovery plans. The Health Secretary Sajid Javid recently announced plans for a cross government white paper on health prevention and inequalities. Addressing the link between financial difficulty and serious mental health problems should be at the heart of this plan, to give people a better chance of recovering from both.
- Banks, energy companies and other essential services providers should proactively identify customers who may be struggling, and improve the support they offer. This could include developing better processes for referring people to debt advice, offering realistic repayment plans, freezing interest and charges, and reviewing decisions on debt collection for customers with mental health problems.
Money and Mental Health is grateful to Capital One UK for supporting the funding of this research.