Money worries causing a mental health ‘timebomb’ among young people

Money worries are creating a mental health timebomb for young people, with almost 40 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds saying their mental health has significantly worsened as a direct result of the cost of living crisis.

According to lender Creditspring, a third of young people say they are more in debt now than they were 12 months ago, with a further third saying their financial worries have reached the point where they are unable to sleep.

The research comes as the average cost of rent in the UK increased by 9 per cent in the year to February – the highest annual increase since the Office for National Statistics began keeping records in 2015.

Sharp rises in rental values have a greater disproportionate impact on young people who are less likely to have made it on to the housing ladder and more likely to be living in rental accommodation.

Indeed, according to further new research from money manager St James’s Place, 22 per cent of renters say their total household wealth has significantly decreased over the past decade, with less than half viewing themselves as financially resilient. Almost two-thirds of the 6,000 people polled said their mental health has suffered as a result.

Neil Kadagathur, chief executive and co-founder of Creditspring, says: “Money worries and mental health are intrinsically linked – daily struggles to afford basic essentials, emptying savings pots and ever-growing debt are impacting the UK’s mental health, with ever-growing numbers of people finding themselves in this heartbreaking situation.

“Older people who may have built a savings cushion to fall back on and likely have a higher household income likely aren’t facing the flood of money worries that the younger generation are struggling to overcome.”

Michaela, a 29-year-old actress from Malta, who is currently renting in London, says she has had to change her lifestyle considerably to keep up with “ridiculous rent increases”. She says she now holds down multiple jobs alongside her auditioning, working in a printing agency, undertaking various promotion jobs and working as a pet and babysitter. While she is making it work, she says it is having an undeniable impact on her mental health and is “constantly feeling anxious about money and guilty when she does decide to treat herself”.

The Creditspring research additionally found a fifth of young people are reliant on credit to pay bills compared to 3 per cent of over 55s.

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