COVID-19 money worries impacting mental wellbeing
  • Money worries can have a negative impact on people’s mental wellbeing, and those with mental health problems can struggle to manage their finances
  • One in five (21%) say concerns about money are having a bigger impact than health worries on their mental health at present, and fathers aged 35-44 are particularly affected
  • One in four (38%) are concerned about the impact of financial stress on a loved ones’ mental state
  • To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Open Up 2020 Challenge is revealing some apps that can help both with mental and financial wellbeing

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), new research from the Open Up 2020 Challenge reveals money worries are negatively impacting the mental health of a quarter (23%) of the population. In fact, one in five (21%) say financial stress is having a bigger impact on their mental wellbeing than physical health concerns during the covid-19 crisis.

A quarter (25%) are more stressed about money than usual and 16% say financial worries are negatively affecting relationships with friends and family, although this almost doubles among 35-44 year olds (31%). Indeed, men in this age range with dependent children are some of the most likely to be struggling with their mental health because of financial concerns. They are significantly more likely to be more stressed about money than usual (49% vs 25%), or say that that money is having a bigger impact than physical health on their wellbeing (46% vs 21%). Worryingly, 42% of this group have lost sleep over money since the crisis began (more than double the national average of 19%).

The nation is also very concerned about the impact of money troubles on their loved ones’ mental health with four in ten (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.

Two apps which are designed specifically to support people with existing mental health or cognitive issues manage their money and stay safe 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.

In addition, there are a range of apps that help people improve their budgeting and money management, ensuring people have one less thing to worry about:

  • 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.

Lubaina Manji, Senior Programme Manager, Nesta Challenges, 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.”

All of these solutions are finalists in the Open Up 2020 Challenge, run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity. There are 15 finalists in total which have already received £50,000 in funding in addition to non-financial support to further develop their product and enable them to reach and help even more people across the UK. Kalgera and Toucan were each also awarded an additional £50,000 owing to their focus on financial inclusion. Between three and four finalists will go on to be named winners in October 2020, receiving a further £150,000-200,000 each so they can help even more people to manage their money.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), said: “During this current time, it’s more important than ever that people have access to technologies that make managing their finances easier. It is encouraging to see how the financial services industry has risen to this challenge, using the power of open banking technology and our network as a springboard for collaboration and innovation to deliver products that make a positive impact on consumers’ lives.”

For more information about Open Up 2020, and the full list of finalists, visit

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