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When Finance Meets Mental Health

Mental health and income have a very strong relationship. This is because a persons income has a large part to play in their life and has a lot of meaning to somebody due to how important it is in our day to day life. Income can affect a persons mental health very significantly especially if it starts to deteriorate or become a burden. This is especially a factor if the person has people that they need to provide for, for example a family especially with young children.

A study found that participants with household income of less that $20,000 per year were at increased risk of mood disorders than those with an income of $70,000 or more year. This is a study that was conducted in the US so it cannot be generalised to the UK, however the results are still interesting to see as it relates income and mental health disorders. The conclusion to the study was that low levels of household income are associated with several lifetime mental disorders and suicide attempts. A reduction in house income is associated with increased risk for mental disorders because built up stress from needing the income to pay for things that are important.

The recent global economic recession caused by Covid-19 has promoted concern about the impact of income decreasing as well as the cost-of-living crisis that the UK has projected into. This is becoming a risk to those already suffering with mental health disorders as well as people who may become subject to them. There has always been a very strong link between mental illness, suicide and income. However, higher levels of income and better satisfaction with quality of life, is shown to improve mental health and begin to decrease the affects that it may have on a person. As well as this, the persons mindset an how they are able to cope with financial stress has a large part to play in the adverse mental health affects that they may feel. A study showed that participants who had already existing/ past mental health illnesses were more subject to mental health related illnesses when feeling the financial pressures of income.

When people start to feel the negative affects of mental illness, they no longer get the motivation to work. This can lead to further implications because if a person suffering with mental illness isn’t working then this means they will no longer be getting an income. This becomes a vicious cycle as the relation to income and mental health issues becomes stronger. This is very common in students as the amount of income that a student has is limited due to the student loan that they get, as well as the amount of time that they have spare to work, due to how much university work that they have. The balance becomes harder, and the loan begins to run out, leading to issues such as how the student will cover their rent for the month or term. This can then make their mental health deteriorate.

For people that live in poverty, the story isn’t much different. This is because people that live in poverty feel a lot of shame about the situation that they are in, and often do not go and get help because of this. The issue is to do with the privacy that they feel they will have when talking to a financial specialist. A lot of people in poverty will go outside of the typical systems for help such as relying on family and friends for income, as well as not getting help for mental health related issues. Income has a lot of pressure on people who are already living in poverty as they feel that they need to escape the situation that they are in by any means necessary which can lead to a lot of stress and mental pressure.

Overall, there is a strong connection between mental health and income, being that income has a significant impact on a person’s mental health if their income is not what they want it to be. The higher a persons income, the more likely they are to not have any mental health issues as well as the happier they are more likely to be.


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