Most adults have pretended to be ‘fine’ when asked if ok – rather than admit to struggling

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A quarter are too embarrassed to open up and give a more honest answer, while 17 percent worry it would make the other person like them less if they did.

We want customers to know that if they need to talk to us, we’re here ready to support them with a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear

Josie Clapham, Santander Director of Financial Support

And a fifth fear it would make the other person wish they hadn’t asked the question.

The research was commissioned by Santander to encourage people to talk about their wellbeing, after it emerged 66 percent have struggled with mental health because of money issues.

And with the UK furlough scheme set to end, it’s feared people will continue to suffer – including furloughed workers who may now be facing redundancy.

The bank has teamed up with mental health charity, MIND, to provide Santander staff with training and guidance to help them have “the right conversations” with customers experiencing mental health difficulties.

Josie Clapham, director of financial support at Santander, said: “Many of us don’t want to “burden” others with how we feel, or we worry that we’ll be judged or viewed differently if we’re honest about a mental health struggle.

“We know that money worries can often be the cause of mental health problems and for some people the challenges of the last eighteen months are not over.

“We want customers to know that if they need to talk to us, we’re here ready to support them with a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear as well as practical solutions for their finances.”

The study also found when asked the question, “Are you okay?”, people were three times more likely to open up about a physical difficulty they had experienced, than a mental health issue.

But in reality, 69 percent want to hear an honest answer when they ask someone if they are okay – and 79 percent would even ask again if they felt like they weren’t hearing the truth.

The study found that after asking if someone is okay, 43 percent would feel “glad that they asked” if they were given an honest answer about how the other person really felt.

Another 45 percent would be pleased they felt they could be open, while 36 percent would feel humbled that they had confided in them.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found half of adults would make a conscious effort to check in more frequently with someone if they knew they were having mental health struggles.

It also emerged that more than half (52 percent) wouldn’t admit to not feeling okay to a partner, while 53 percent would also hide their true feelings from their close friends.

However, following the coronavirus pandemic, 59 percent of respondents are now more likely to honestly answer a query about whether they were okay – if they were not.

Despite this, almost a fifth of adults (18 percent) struggle to talk about their innermost feelings, even with those closest to them.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at MIND, said: “We know there is a strong link between money and mental health. For some, the pandemic and the economic recession has hit both, hard, with the impact likely to be felt for a long time to come.

“This research shows that people still find it difficult to talk about their mental health, but we need to continue having these important conversations.

“There are many people ready to listen non-judgementally and signpost to support if needed.

“Mind is pleased to be delivering training to Santander to help the wellbeing and mental health of their colleagues and customers.

“If you need information and support about your money, your mental health, or both, visit our website here.”

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