Brokers’ mental health suffering as mortgage crisis deepens
Senior Content Officer, Mental Health at Work
Mortgage brokers are suffering from a lack of mental health support in the workplace, according to a new report from Mind.
The volatile mortgage market is causing those in the industry to work long hours, take on overwhelming workloads, and experience first-hand the emotional distress their customers are going through.
We hear of people in tears
“Mortgage brokers are seeing evidence every day of the stress being felt by mortgage holders who are facing much higher interest rates than anyone anticipated,” says Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI). “We hear of people in tears, others thinking of selling up, but with nowhere to go.
“In addition, the volatility means that we see mortgage products withdrawn with very little notice, forcing brokers to work late into the night or during weekends in addition to the normal week. All of this can impact mortgage brokers’ own mental health.”
Ben Groves, of Affinity Mortgages, has worked as a mortgage advisor for three years. He says there is not enough support available. “I am having really difficult discussions with people about their payments doubling or tripling to many hundreds of pounds more a month, and brokers are on the frontline seeing the impact this is having on people’s lives,” he says.
“You feel guilty if you haven’t been able to secure a new deal if the lender changes products on the same day, and I’m often re-doing work and working late into the evenings submitting applications to try to support my clients as best as I can. All of this can have an impact on our own mental health.”
Stress can also make existing mental health problems feel worse
Mind warns that if you often experience feelings of stress, you might be at risk of developing a mental health problem like depression or anxiety. Stress can also make your existing mental health problems feel worse.
The charity suggests organisations use Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) as a way to help employees talk about their mental wellbeing, and create strategies for coping when things get tough.
Employers might also want to consider introducing other mental wellbeing initiatives, such as an EAP, flexible working, or mental health first aiders. Signing the Mental Health at Work Commitment is a public statement of your intention to support the wellbeing of your employees, and provides standards you can work towards to make your workplace healthier.
Almost a third have been affected by increasing mortgage costs
The soaring mortgage rate is also having an impact on the nation’s wider mental health. Mind has seen a 55% increase in the number of people contacting its Infoline over the last 18 months about financial difficulties, including welfare, unemployment, and personal debt.
And the researchers found that almost a third (29%) of people (almost 14 million) in England and Wales have been affected by hearing about or experiencing increasing mortgage costs over the last year. One in ten (10%) said that it had affected their mental health a lot.
“As we continue to grapple with the rising cost of living, news of yet another possible increase in mortgage rates will be difficult for many families to bear,” says Vicki Nash, Mind’s Associate Director of External Affairs.
“These figures show this is a mental health emergency that everyone is going to need help to deal with. We know we can’t fix the cost-of-living crisis but support for your mental health is out there, and we are here for you. This includes through Mind’s Infoline, online community, Side by Side and the useful information on our website that will be available throughout this difficult period.”