Mental Health and Insolvency

Mental Health is directly affected by the stress of financial difficulties and insolvency.

People’s Mental Health and the affect upon it by the many problems caused by the pandemic and more recently the rise in the cost of living, high interest rates and especially in terms of rising energy and wage bills, has been much reported recently. Figures from a new survey of small businesses by Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance in January 2024 showed that 24% of respondents reported that their mental health had been adversely affected by the stress of managing their business’s finances during the difficult last 12 months. That is a worryingly high number, and with Government figures showing that there are 5.47 million small businesses (0 to 49 employees) in the UK, then extrapolating from the survey points towards people at over 1.3 million companies likely to be feeling some degree of stress due to financial pressures.

This applies as much to businesses as it does at home, and as insolvency practitioners, we have seen the stress and strain that business difficulties can cause company directors and their staff. At the very sharpest end are those businesses that enter insolvency, often through little or no fault of their own, with data from the Office for National Statistics showing that in 2023, business insolvencies reached 25,159, the highest level since 2009, and a 14% increase on 2022. Stephen Evans, a consultant at our London Office has now joined Elaine Wilkins a director at our Bournemouth Office in deciding to do something about it and is our second trained Mental Health First Aider. In this article, Stephen tells us a bit more about what a Mental Health First Aider is and how he (and Elaine) can help.

People with financial difficulties are more likely to suffer with Mental Health problems.

It is well known that financial difficulties, whether for individuals or within businesses, can lead to real mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. In a recent report, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 18% of people with mental health problems may also suffer with debt issues and that 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem. The report suggested that c.1.5 million people struggle with Mental Health issues and problem debt at the same time and that the situation can be made worse if they are treated insensitively by creditors.

Stephen Evans became a Mental Health First Aider in 2023

Stephen Evans, a consultant at our London Office has now joined Elaine Wilkins from our Bournemouth Office in deciding to do something about how financial difficulties and insolvency can affect mental health, and is now our second trained Mental Health First Aider.

Stephen’s certification is through MHFA England, a social enterprise with a vision to improve the mental health of the nation. Through their training, campaigning, and reinvesting, they equip people with the skills to support their own and others’ wellbeing. They believe in zero stigma around mental health and want mental health to be openly discussed and supported.

Insolvency

As Stephen says

“I have worked in Insolvency for most of my career, becoming a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner in 1995. In that time, I have come across many business owners and directors who are deeply anxious and distressed with their financial situation, especially when their businesses have been plunged into difficulties through no fault of their own.

Over the years at Antony Batty and Company, we have always been sensitive to the stresses and strains that insolvency can cause and supportive of the people involved. The Mental Health First Aid training I received has helped me to better recognise the signs of depression and anxiety, which people often cover up, when in financial difficulties. This helps with the tone of voice and style of approach we adopt as we work out the most appropriate plan to address these financial difficulties.

Of course, we are not mental health practitioners, and we cannot advise on the cause of mental health issues or any medical treatment. Having completed the training, however, I will be using my new skills in this area to help any of the individuals and businesses who approach us when their finances are in real difficulties feel a little better about their financial position and know that there is a likely solution available.”

The sooner our help and advice is sought when insolvency looms, the better

The stories of sleepless nights, growing anxiety and deepening depression are all too true for those individuals and business owners who are facing problem debt and, ultimately, insolvency. Sometimes our advice is sought too late, and the only way out is a liquidation. Even then, we can help lessen stress and strain by taking over the work of dealing with creditors. If contacted quickly, the chances of turnaround and recovery are much improved, perhaps via an Administration or a Company Voluntary Arrangement, where once again, we take the strain.

If you or your company is facing insolvency due to problem debt, HMRC arrears, cashflow or other financial problems and you are stressed and anxious about what to do, then please do contact one of our Insolvency Practitioners for a fully confidential, and FREE initial discussion at any of our offices.

At the meeting, our highly qualified specialists will provide you with independent, professional assistance/guidance and go over all the possible options, which will also help take the stress and strain away.

If you are concerned about the financial position of your company and are facing insolvency, please contact us at one of our offices:

Also, K&W Recovery, trading as Antony Batty and Company, Thames Valley: