Financial worries are fuelling working people’s mental health problems, according to a shocking new survey.
A third of those polled reported suffering from mental ill health specifically because of concern over their finances, with nearly 60 per cent saying that money problems were the biggest driver of workplace stress.
Against a backdrop of nearly a decade-long period of wage stagnation, coupled with rising prices on virtually everything from housing to food costs, workers face sleepless nights wondering if they’ll make it to the end of the month.
In fact, the survey found that 34 per cent lost sleep three times a week worrying about money, while one in 10 people said they planned on skipping a day of work this month to save on travel costs.
The research, conducted by employee benefits provider GettaSub, found that despite financial worries dominating the lives of their stressed workers, companies and bosses are doing little to help.
Nearly half of those surveyed – 44 per cent – said they were not getting any support from their employer with financial advice, while a strong majority, 57 per cent, said they believed their bosses should be doing more to help them.
“It’s clear that rising living costs and economic uncertainty is taking a heavy toll on workers and employers need to get a grip on this crisis,” said GettaSub director Ann Marie Bell.
“Sitting back and doing nothing is no longer an option – bosses must recognise that they have a duty of care beyond the traditional pay cycle, offering practical advice and options of financial support for those who need it most.
“It’s shocking that so many people in full-time work find themselves cash-poor when so much can be done to ease the burden.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the problem – and solutions – go much deeper.
“There needs to be a two-pronged response to these shocking findings that shame the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy,” she said.
“Firstly, employers across the public and private sectors should devote more resources and emphasis on the mental health of their employees to tackle this epidemic of stress that is engulfing the nation’s workplaces.
“More broadly, the financial distress of millions of our fellow citizens should be seen in the context of a decade of harsh Tory austerity measures that has seriously eroded pay and welfare benefits, so we are faced with the biggest squeeze on household incomes since the Napoleonic Wars,” Cartmail added. “This pernicious austerity regime needs to end now and not in some distant future.”
Today’s latest survey on workplace stress follows a separate poll this week from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which found that stress-related absences from work are on the rise. The CIPD identified poor management as a major factor in contributing to the increase.