One in six people with money problems have had suicidal thoughts, says charity

By agency reporter
July 7, 2018

New research by the charity Mental Health UK has found that one in six people who have experienced money problems (16 per cent) have experienced suicidal thoughts because of this.

An online survey by YouGov of 2,000 UK adults found that one quarter of adults who have experienced money problems (25 per cent) said they felt guilty about their money problems and 41 per cent felt embarrassed. While just under three in 10 (28 per cent) didn’t talk about these problems to anyone, and half of all adults (50 per cent) said they wouldn’t know where to get support.

This is leading to unhealthy behaviour. People who have had money problems revealed that they drank more alcohol (15 per cent) and smoked (13 per cent) more to cope.

People reported feeling stressed (65 per cent), anxious (62 per cent), angry (20 per cent), isolated (23 per cent) and depressed (44 per cent) as a result of their money worries.

Money issues are widespread, nearly three in 10 (27 per cent) people have struggled to pay bills or rent. Mental Health UK estimates that four million people in the UK are at risk of mental health issues because they are having financial difficulties.

Mental Health UK offers free information, support and advice for anyone affected by mental health and money issues through its Mental Health and Money Advice service.

Brian Dow, Managing Director of Mental Health UK said: “These figures show just how vicious the cycle of mental health and money problems can be.

“People feel embarrassed and isolated, and don’t know where to get help. Instead they bottle up feelings of stress, anger and depression, and turn to unhealthy things like smoking and drinking.  Of course, this only makes the problem worse and that’s how things can spiral downwards. As this research shows, this can eventually lead to suicidal thoughts.

“We want more people to be aware of the link between money troubles and mental health problems, to recognise when they might be struggling, and be able to reach out for help when they need it.”

Chris Lynch from Chester said: “My debt problems began at around the same time as my mental health problems while I was at university. I was drinking a lot and debts began to build. As I got into work both mental health problems and debts continued to get worse. At one point I was in £30,000 of debt.

“I never thought I'd be alive long enough to pay it back, so I didn’t really worry about the debt. Looking back, I could easily have ended up homeless or ending my life.”

Half of British adults with a debt problem has a mental health problem, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Debt problems increase the chances of poor mental health – people with debt problems are twice as likely to develop major depression. The more debt a person has, the more likely they will have a mental health problem.

Mental Health UK brings together four national mental health charities working across the UK: Rethink Mental Illness, Support in Mind Scotland, Hafal and Mindwise.

If you need to talk to somebody, for any reason, call the Samaritans free any time from any phone, on 116 123.

* Mental Health and Money Advice

* Rethink Mental Illness


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