Workers between the ages of 18-34 were most likely to report struggling with mental health, indicating that the crisis is affecting young people in a detrimental way. 

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, research from Close Brothers found that it is the youngest workers who have struggled most with mental health during the pandemic.

In February 2021, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of workers aged between 18-34 stated they were experiencing mental health worries. This is compared to just over half of employees (56 per cent) within this age range who felt this way in May 2020, one year ago.

Other groups which were similarly negatively affected by mental health issues included women (56 per cent) and staff who are between the ages of 35-54 (52 per cent). However, overall, over half of staff (51 per cent) struggled with mental health issues, showing it is a widespread concern.

These demographics were also more likely to report an increase in worries about their financial health, showing a link between mental wellbeing and financial health.

However, despite this, many of the workers polled expressed resilience as a result of the pandemic.

More than half (57 per cent) of employees either have made or plan to make changes to their financial preparedness – notably almost three quarters (73 per cent) of 18-34 year olds and around two-thirds (65 per cent) of 35-44 year olds.

This has led to a renewed sense of confidence among staff with just under a third of UK employees (30 per cent) feeling more able to weather a fresh financial storm.

However, this resilience has also extended further to include a willingness to improve physical health too. Almost two thirds of employees (61 per cent) have either already started or are planning to exercise more and more than half (55 per cent) are planning to eat a healthier diet and other activities to improve overall wellbeing and mental health.

Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers said:

Understandably, the pandemic has had a direct impact on employee wellbeing and specifically on their mental and financial health. Tackling this, and providing the support needed, even as the majority of employees continue to work remotely, is an area of growing importance for organisations.

Mental wellbeing has always been impacted by poor financial wellbeing but over the last 12 months this has touched more people and some have been particularly badly affected. Sectors have been hit at all levels and so it has never been so critical to ensure that everyone understands and is confident about the choices they have so they can make the absolute best decisions with the money they have.


*Close Brothers ‘Expecting the Unexpected’ report is based on a survey carried out on behalf of Close Brothers by Opinium. The sample was 2,000 UK based employees working for companies with 200 or more employees. The research was carried out between 22nd and 28th January 2021.