Today’s report from the ONS entitled How are financial pressures affecting people in Great Britain?, showed (amongst other things) that 4 in 10 adults do not expect to save any money in the coming year. It also revealed that more than 4 in 10 adults who were borrowing more money or using more credit were suffering high levels of anxiety.
Financial experts and psychologists have been reacting to today’s news via the Newspage platform commenting:
Vanessa Louise Moore, wellbeing expert at Vanessa Loves: “The number of people affected by anxiety due to financial pressures is growing sharply, evident through the number of clients I’ve seen over the past 6-9 months. Denial of the severity of the situation often leads to people burying their heads in the sand, which results in a vicious cycle that can be hard to get out of. Signs of strain on a person’s mental health will often include irrational and volatile behaviour and isolating themselves. Unfortunately, therapy time is often the first to go during times of financial pressure, as people panic to try and ‘fix things’ by working harder, which can exacerbate the poor state of their mental health, often through burnout. The irony is, this is the most crucial time to be prioritising themselves and self-care. Take a breath and remember everything passes and it’s never the end of the world.”
Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner at Leicestershire-based independent financial advisers, Rowley Turton: “This worrying report clearly demonstrates the strong link between financial difficulty and mental health, and given the ongoing cost of living crisis, it is crucial that the Government provides greater support to help people manage their finances and avoid falling into debt. Taking proactive measures now will arguably save the Government money in the long run, by preventing the compounding financial issues that can arise if support is not provided in a timely manner. As a financial adviser, I strongly encourage anyone struggling with debt or financial difficulty to seek professional advice and support as soon as possible.”
Joshua Gerstler, chartered financial planner at Borehamwood-based The Orchard Practice: ‘A lot of people are feeling anxious about their finances at the moment as disposable income is squeezed. I try and encourage our clients to talk about and discuss it in our meetings. Our meeting is the time to feel anxious about it and get all your fears off your chest, so that I can help come up with a sensible plan so that you do not need to feel anxious.”
Dr Felicity Baker, co-founder at wellbeing specialists, Ultimate Resilience: “Being able to access help and support at an early stage is central to managing the impact of financial stress, which is now the leading cause of stress outside work, outranking parenting, relationships and bereavement. Talking to a trusted friend, colleague or family member is a good starting point. If you are feeling down, anxious or troubled, or if you are worried about someone else, there are lots of free and readily available sources of support, such as 24-hour online peer support (Mind), helpline and live chat available 24 hours a day (Campaign Against Living Miserably), 24-hour support for anyone who is troubled or feeling suicidal via helpline, email and or self-help app (Samaritans). If the problems you are experiencing seem to persist for several weeks, speak to your GP, who will be able to suggest other sources of help.”
Lewis Shaw, founder of Teesside-based mortgage broker, Riverside Mortgages: “In one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, it’s awful that we’ve got people panicking about which way to turn when it comes to heating or eating, paying the bills or getting their child some shoes, covering the rent or caring for their family. We hear politicians of all stripes sympathise with people struggling to make ends meet but sympathy doesn’t keep the lights on and run the bath. Do those in charge have any idea of the types of anxiety this leads to? The fear and embarrassment in the pit of a parent’s stomach, unable to sleep worrying about how they get to the end of the month. As my father taught me, a little help is worth a ton of pity. Tax the fuel companies and redistribute that money to where it’s needed before we have an epidemic of mental health problems that can’t be fixed.”