One in eight Swedes had financial difficulties last year, which made them more exposed to mental health problems, the Public Health Agency of Sweden said on Thursday.
Twelve percent of the respondents in a national survey said they had difficulties meeting expenses for food, rent, and bills, the agency said in a press release.
The survey found that 20 percent of those who had financial problems also reported high stress levels and problems with anxiety, while this ratio was only six percent among people living in financial stability.
“The increased cost of food, electricity, transport, and other things affect everyone, but those with smaller financial margins are hit particularly hard,” Hillevi Busch, a researcher and analyst at the agency, said in the press release.
The study also found that the proportion of those reporting mental health issues and suicidal thoughts has remained at roughly the same level since 2018.
Over a longer period of time, however, the number of people with mental health problems has increased, and in many cases Busch sees a clear link with the state of personal finances.
“This relationship is bidirectional. About half of those with some kind of financial problem also answered that they have a long-term illness. Having health problems can affect the ability to work and thus affect personal finances. In addition, financial problems in themselves can negatively affect mental health,” Busch said.
The survey was conducted earlier this year among 17,000 respondents aged over 16.