This is a question that has never been more pressing than during the lockdown year the world has faced. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week on the 14th - 20th May this year which actually has been an annual event since 2001. Over the last 12 months, the pandemic effects have seen more people reach out to mental health charities for support, and according to mind.org.uk, the UK is in a mental health crisis.
Inevitably the knock-on effect of the pandemic and the end of the furlough scheme will mean this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is more poignant than ever. Investigating further, we have found that mental health and wellbeing are overwhelmingly connected to financial stress, and the effects of financial pressure on the workforce create a self-fulling prophecy. Meaning you are more likely to suffer from poor mental health if you have financial worries, and economic instability can cause mental health problems.
Statistics Prove the Link
Poor mental health and money problems often go hand in hand. Recent research shared by moneyandmentalhealth.org shows that in England alone, over 1.5 million people are experiencing mental health problems brought on by un-serviceable debt, and those figures are likely to increase as a direct result of the worldwide pandemic, and it’s knock-on effects.
The report says the statistics reinforce the message that people with a debt problem are more likely to experience poor mental health. The figures look like this:
It’s clear that a debt problem and poor mental health are inextricably linked, that one problem fuels the other, but how exactly does being in financial difficulty directly affect a staff member?
More than 100,000 people in England attempt suicide while in problem debt each year, proving a solid link between debt and suicide.
What Can Be Done to Remove Financial Stress?
Responsible and progressive employers will know if employees are struggling with personal debt, primarily due to current events; debt is indiscriminate across all demographics, geographically and in all business sectors. Every HR department will be aware of agencies that can help with debt and personal finance problems. An excellent place to find free advice and help is the Citizens Advice Bureau and the government’s Money and Pensions Service.
Employers also realise that if they can promote a sense of wellbeing in any way that doesn’t involve an increase in salaries, they will have solved a huge problem and, in doing so, will improve morale and productivity all in one go.
Many forward-thinking companies are making the wellbeing of employees a priority, with the return to work imminent for many as COVID restrictions are lifted. Businesses with frontline and key workers are looking for ways to protect workers’ mental health to promote a sense of wellbeing.
Highlighting the problem is a report produced by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development). The body that regulates HR professionals states that a financial wellbeing policy should form an integral part of every employer’s holistic wellbeing strategy. The CIPD says that the following steps are easy to implement without being costly to any organisation.
Introducing fastP.A.Y.E, the only ethical and flexible wage app available, can promote a sense of financial wellbeing and significantly contribute to an employer’s holistic wellbeing strategy.
Here are the benefits to you and your organisation.
The world of work has come a long way in the last five years, but the need for employer support has exceeded expectations in the previous 12 months. According to Glassdoor, the recruitment consultants, work-life balance and wellbeing strategies are as important as salaries when prospective employees are looking for full-time employment or a career change.
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