Christmas can cause strain on mental health: The Yorkshire advises customers not to suffer in silence
Christmas can be a challenging time for many. The added pressures this time of the year brings, not to mention the financial strain, can heighten feelings of stress and loneliness especially for people with poor mental health.
A survey conducted by charity MIND1 revealed that 20% of respondents felt lonely during the festive period and one in five (18%) drink more alcohol than usual to cope with the pressure of Christmas.
Yorkshire Building Society is urging customers to speak out about any difficulties they’re facing during this tough time, and indeed at any time, after seeing a 13% year-on-year increase2 in the number experiencing mental health difficulties.
The figure reflects a national report from the NHS3 which shows a 14% increase in absences at work relating to anxiety and stress year-on-year from 2015-16 to 2016-17. The report also reveals that one in three sick notes issued by doctors are for mental health problems.
The Society already encourages customers to share health concerns to help it better respond to their specific needs. So far4 this year, the Society has recorded depression as the main cause of mental health difficulties registered amongst the Yorkshire’s customers, with anxiety and stress also shown to be impacting members’ lives.
According to MIND there is a link between money and mental health, and this can generate a snowball effect - poor mental health can make managing finances harder and worrying about money can make mental health difficulties worse.
Janis Hambling, who leads the Yorkshire’s team that supports vulnerable customers , said:
We’ve seen a growing trend in the number of our customers experiencing poor mental health – and that’s just the ones we know about.
Mental health can impact many facets of your life, including your finances. We’re urging customers not to suffer in silence, we’re here to support you and take steps together to help manage your money during this difficult time.
You can have a confidential chat with our colleagues – either in one of our branches or over the phone – to explore the best options for you, and we’ll also arrange meetings to review your circumstances to see if we can help you get any additional support.
We can help you get in touch with independent organisations, such as Money Advice Trust and The Samaritans, who can provide you with financial and wider mental health help and support.
Anyone concerned about their mental health should seek advice from either their GP or contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org. Tips on how to maintain good mental health at Christmas can be found on the Mental Health Foundation website.
1 MIND is a charity that offers advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The survey was conducted in December 2015 with 2,000 respondents through Populus.
2The Yorkshire saw a 13% increase in the number of customers known to be experiencing mental health problems (5% of customer base) from January to August 2016, compared to the same period in 2017.
3Data from the NHS released in September 2017 analysed more than 12 million of ‘sick notes’, issued over almost two and a half years from GP practices across England.
4 Figures from January to August 2017. The percentages relate to the specific types of mental health problems recorded by the Society’s vulnerable customer team, relating to customers registered as experiencing mental health difficulties.