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Quarter of intermediaries have ‘poor’ to ‘concerning’ mental health – MIMHC

  • 09/05/2022
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Quarter of intermediaries have ‘poor’ to ‘concerning’ mental health – MIMHC
The Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter (MIMHC) has released the results of its study on mental wellbeing to raise awareness and improve wellbeing provisions within the sector. 

The survey asked intermediary representatives 10 questions that explored work/life balance, sleep patterns and workplace mental health provision. It focussed on how mental health and wellbeing provisions have changed during the final pandemic stages and how the current cost of living crisis is affecting stress levels.

The study found that only eight per cent of brokers rated their wellbeing as excellent, with 16 per cent stating that it was “poor”, and seven per cent reporting that it was “of concern”. The majority said they were in a “good” or “satisfactory” state, at 33 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

This shows a slight improvement on August 2021 when a study by Crystal Specialist Finance showed that 18 per cent of respondents rated their overall level of mental wellbeing as “of concern”.

It found that 23 per cent, almost a quarter, had poor to concerning mental health, yet 46 per cent of intermediaries had no workplace mental health support that they knew of.

Jason Berry, group sales and marketing director at Crystal Specialist Finance, said: “In today’s society it is no longer acceptable for people with mental illness to suffer in silence. Our campaign simply sees companies pledge to become signatories of MIMHC so best practices are shared via quarterly newsletters and pathways to experts are readily available via our bespoke website.”


Most brokers are content with their work

Results for professional contentment showed that 27 per cent of respondents love their work and feel good about their careers, but 14 per cent are considering their options and feel “pretty disillusioned”, up from 10 per cent in the August study. The majority, 59 per cent, reported being okay with how things are going.

However, when asked what was important to their mental health, only 18 per cent said that a fulfilling professional career made their top three, the second lowest after spiritual and religious beliefs at two per cent.


Overworked and under-slept

Sleep is considered the third most important factor connected to mental health and wellbeing, with 49 per cent of respondents saying it was a priority after a happy relationship with their partner – 65 per cent – and financial independence at 51 per cent. A healthy fitness and diet routine are consistent front-runners on factors contributing to improving mental health.

However, the study found that 13 per cent of brokers are working more than 60 hours a week, with two per cent reporting that they do more than 75 hours. Despite this, the vast majority are keeping some sort of work/life balance, with 44 per cent doing less than 45 hours a week and 43 per cent doing 45 to 60 hours.

This is consistent with the 2021 study that showed 66 per cent of individuals were working over 45 hours per week.

When it comes to getting enough sleep, the statistics show that more than a quarter of intermediaries, 27 per cent, reported having zero nights of getting enough sleep, and only five per cent said they slept well every night.


Flexibility is key to work/life balance

The report showed that “an individual’s experience of working in the office or from home was reflected heavily by their personality type of being an extrovert or introvert, or a hybrid of both” and that “flexibility is key to nurturing positive workplace mental health, and in some instances, allows people to manage their anxiety and depression more effectively.”

There has been a post-pandemic work/life balance improvement for 40 per cent of brokers, while 30 per cent said it had stayed the same and 30 per cent reported that it was worse than before.

The ability to choose between the office and home has been a huge factor in this, allowing employees to shape their working environment and having the trust of their employer to get their jobs done individually.

Most have returned to the office, with 42 per cent saying so, while 31 per cent are now permanently home based and 27 per cent enjoy hybrid working.

This has led to 48 per cent reporting that their working arrangements have given them improved or greatly improved mental health. Some 42 per cent said it was the same and 10 per cent have seen negative effects.


Company culture is improving around mental health

More companies are stepping up their efforts to change their culture to embrace and support mental health concerns, including schemes like mental health first aiders and regular workplace wellbeing activities. In some companies, burnout and pandemic lethargy was even combated through additional holiday provision in the form mental health “duvet days”, and in some instances, “reset” weeks.

Some 48 per cent of employees in the financial industry as a whole reported seeing improved mental health support, and 54 per cent said they were aware of their company mental health strategy.

More than half of companies have a mental health and wellbeing strategy in place, while only 34 per cent do not, and 12 per cent of respondents were unaware if their company had one.

MIMHC stated the findings are encouraging, but “we see that a chasm exists where companies should be cultivating more support for their employees”.

Berry added: “Although it is pleasing to see an increasing number of firms now have some form of Mental Health and Wellbeing support in place our results demonstrate that there is so much more work needed in our sector.”



MIMHCs objective is to drive new signatories with the overall goal of improving and implementing best practice mental health provision in the finance sector.

The charter asks signatories to abide by six aims: developing mental health awareness through activities and advocacy; encouraging conversations and support; better working conditions to encourage work/life balance and development; promoting effective people-focussed line management; monitoring employee mental health; and having a named contact for mental health support.

Insight for the study was formed by surveying 127 appointed representative advisers, directly authorised advisers, professional introducers and admin staff working within the mortgage intermediary marketplace.

Companies can sign up to MIMHC here.

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