Blog: Mental Health Awareness Week - A little bit of kindness

This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has placed particular focus on the mental wellbeing of people not only in the UK, but around the globe.

Those already struggling with their mental health may have found the past few months even more difficult than usual, with the inability to see loved ones or pursue coping techniques, such as sports and other leisure techniques, putting strain on people’s wellbeing.

It’s not only lockdown, but also the potential uncertainty around employment and finances that is placing further pressure on people’s mental health.

The market turmoil caused by the virus has seen some people’s pension pots drop in value as investments underperform, adding another layer of stress on top of the many that may already exist.

The pensions industry has been providing some support, with The Pensions Regulator encouraging increased member communication to help put people’s minds at ease.

I’m sure that the vast majority, if not all, of trustees and scheme managers have been putting their members first during this period, but this must continue to take a little weight off of people’s already heavily burdened minds.

Concerns over finances are not uncommon. A recent Quilter survey found that 59 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men were worried about the impact of Covid-19 on their finances, while data from the Money and Mental Health Institute shows that 86 per cent of people who experience mental health problems said that their financial situation made these problems worse.

Pension professionals that are contacted by those whose financial situation is having a negative effect on their mental health have a duty to do everything they can to ease these worries, and direct them to financial and mental health services provided by the government.

Employers also have a duty to their employees, with workers in the UK feeling significantly less confident about the health of their finances then before the pandemic.

More can certainly be done in this area, with a recent study from Barnett Waddingham finding that 42 per cent of employees were getting “radio silence” from their employers in a time when communication is needed more than ever.

Being open, tolerant, and supportive to those struggling could save lives and countless hours of worry for those in need.

Everybody is in this together and we will get through it, but a little bit of kindness and understanding from the industry to people with financial concerns will help ease the journey through this mentally strenuous time.

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