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A new piece of research reveals that men, and in particular dads, are most likely to struggle with their mental health at the moment due to money worries caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
New research from the Open Up 2020 Challenge found that almost half (46%) of dads said that concerns about money are having a bigger impact on their mental wellbeing than physical health worries during the pandemic. This compares to 21% of the national average. Money worries are also causing around a third of men aged 35-44 to feel a strain on their relationships, and two fifths (42%) of men in this age group say they have lost sleep over money since the crisis began.
However, it’s not just fathers feeling the impact as more than a third (36%) of younger men (18-24) feel the same – compared to 21% of women of the same age.
With many people having lost some or all of their income since lockdown, there is also widespread concern about the impact of money troubles on loved ones’ mental health with four in ten people (38%) worried about this. This concern increases when asked about those with existing mental health problems or cognitive impairments, as previous Open Up 2020 research found half (51%) fear vulnerable friends and family falling victim to scammers exploiting the pandemic.
Lubaina Manji, Senior Programme Manager at Nesta Challenges who run the Open Up 2020 challenge in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity, said: “People are facing a raft of financial challenges right now, which can have a severely negative impact on mental health, and those with existing mental health problems are even more at risk. Organisations such as Mind and the Money Advice Service offer support for people struggling with their mental and financial wellbeing and there are also apps and tools available that allow people to take control of their finances. These range from tools which help take the stress out of day-to-day money management to those designed specifically to protect those with mental health and cognitive problems from fraud or further financial hardship.”
Finalists of the Open Up 2020 challenge have developed some apps which can help people manage money effectively, perhaps relieving some of the current stress.
● Cleo – a financial assistant with a sense of humour, personality and intelligence that is already empowering over 3 million customers to reach their financial goals through tips on spending, budgeting and saving.
● Moneyhub – a financial management platform that empowers people to do more with their money by offering actionable insights from a review of all of someone’s accounts.
● Plum – a free app that sorts all the tricky parts of money management. Plum automatically saves small amounts every few days, finds better deals on bills, offers spending insights and invests savings to help people be better off over their lifetime.
Two further apps which have won additional funding in the challenge for their inclusivity are designed specifically to support people with existing mental health or cognitive issues manage their money and stay safe. They are:
● Kalgera – a personal finance platform for older or vulnerable people with cognitive impairments. Kalgera uses neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence to detect and predict financial vulnerability to help prevent fraud, alerting a trusted friend or family member.
● Toucan – helps people who need extra help managing their money because of impairments like mental illness or dementia. The app allows users to securely share spending alerts or financial information with someone they trust, typically a carer, to get timely support.