2.3 Million Brits Limiting Work Hours Due to Mental Health Problems
November 1, 2018
As many as 2.3 million adults living across the UK are limiting the amount of paid work they do because they’re dealing with mental health issues.
For a sizable proportion of those people, cutting back on working hours in response to mental health concerns leads to severe financial hardship and serious problems with debt.
The figures on the subject have been compiled by a charity called the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which works to highlight the financial difficulties that a lot of people with mental health problems often find themselves facing.
The charity’s latest research has been supported by the insurance company Aviva and found evidence of mental health problems leading people into homelessness and the position of routinely falling behind on paying their essential household bills.
Part of the problem people often face in dealing with both mental health issues and financial difficulties is that they each can serve to exacerbate the other, particularly when someone takes time off work due to their illness.
Summing up that difficulty, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has called its latest report ‘Too ill to work, too broke not to’.
In its report, the charity calls for employers to offer more flexible sick pay to members of their workforces who could benefit from part-time sick leave and the chance to phase themselves back into full-time work when they feel ready to do so.
The institute has also called for increases to financial support given via the Universal Credit benefit system to people forced to take time off work due to poor mental health.
A final request from the charity is that people should be given greater access to income protection insurance so that they might be able to make a claim if they can’t work as a result of poor mental health.
“Many with mental health problems are finding themselves too ill to work, and too broke not to – choosing between causing harm to their mental health by working, or harm to their finances by taking time to recover,” said Helen Undy, the director of The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.
“It’s a vicious cycle, ultimately forcing many out of the workplace entirely. We want to see the government and employers taking urgent steps to improve sick pay, access to benefits and other income protection so that a mental health diagnosis is not the first step out of the workforce.”
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