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The University of Southampton

Research project: Financial difficulties and mental health problems

Currently Active: 

This research project is examining the relationships between financial difficulties such as debt and mental health problems, and the psychological mechanisms involved in these relationships.

This includes looking at how money problems such as being in debt and being unable to pay the bills can increase the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The research also examines the potential ‘vicious cycle’ of such of these relationships for example how poor mental health can lead to financial problems for example through being less able to work or avoiding paying bills.

This research is especially focused on how psychological variables such as hope, shame and active coping link money and mental health problems. The research has also focused on Bipolar Disorder specifically to try to understand how psychological variables such as strong beliefs around achievement and mindfulness might fuel impulsive spending in this population. 

This research aims to work towards developing new interventions to try to break the link between vicious cycles and mental health problems. 

Myself and my colleagues are currently applying for research grants in this area. I am currently working with the University of Bristol, Southern Health NHS Trust and the Olan Trust on a project commissioned by the Money and Pensions service to understand the link between financial difficulties and mental health problems in minority ethnic groups in the UK.


• Awarded £7985.20 from Research Capability Fund for Research Assistant for study on Debt in Bipolar Disorder [2015].

• Awarded £9954.27 through Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account (via University of Southampton) to develop resource packs and deliver training to universities, public sector and charities on relationship between debt and mental health in students [2015].

• Awarded £35,260 contract from Money and Pensions Service (co-applicant with University of Bristol) for a project entitled "Understanding the Impacts of Mental Health and Money Problems on Financial Wellbeing of Ethnic Minority Communities: Expert Interviews and Desk Research."

• Contracted £1,937 by Citizens Advice Portsmouth, funding from Suicide Prevention Grant from Southampton City Council to analyse the prevalence of suicidality in those presenting for financial advice [2022].


Bipolar disorder and financial difficulties: some preliminary findings 


I am currently guest editing a special editing on ‘Financial Difficulties and Mental Health’ for the ‘Frontiers in’ journal series. 


Playlist of videos about research on money and mental health here:

Financial difficulties and Impulsive Spending in Bipolar Disorder: A Psychological Understanding. Webinar for International Bipolar Foundation, June 2020. 

Presentation for OECD 2/12/2020 on Financial Difficulties and Mental Health A Psychological Perspective . Repeated 15/12/2020 for OECD conference on ‘Financial Literacy, Financial Resilience and Digitalisation in the CIS'

Presentation on ‘Money and Bipolar Disorder’ for CREST BD. 13/10/2020.

Money and Mental Health: An Overview of My Research. Presented to Student Mental Health Research Network Meeting, November 2020.

The psychology of the relationship between money and mental health problems. For University of Southampton Centre for Innovation in Mental Health Seminar series. The psychology of the relationship between money and mental health problems.

Richardson, T. (2022). The psychology of the relationship between money and mental health problems. Citizens Advice Portsmouth annual conference, 21/01/2022.

Money and Mental Health. Webinar for Money and Pensions Service as part of day on 'Working together to support financial Wellbeing in the South East of England and the UK'. 23/06/2022. (PDF) Money and Mental Health (


Interviewed by Hoyes debt management about debt and mental health (2019)

Panel on discussion about mental health problems and financial services for Money Advice Trust podcase (2019):  

Interviewed by MarketPlace US podcast about Debt and Mental Health (2017).

2020 interviewed by Depression and Bipolar Alliance

2020 Interviewed for episode 1 ‘Mental Health’ Awkward Conversations about Money by Alex Holder, audible series.

Am I Bi-Polar or an Impulse Spender? - Lauren Greutman Hard Money Talks Podcast.

Interview on 'CBT Talks' podcast by Silvercloud Health about Money Worries. June 2022, CBTALKS


2021: Interviewed by Portsmouth news about impact of covid-19 pandemic financial challenges on mental health.

2019 Research on Impulsive Spending in Bipolar covered by Portsmouth News.

2017 Interviewed for the Psychologist Guide to University Life.

2017 Interviewed by Solent TV about research on finances and mental health.

2016 interviewed by voice of Islam DAB radio about finances and mental health.

2015 paper on eating disorders and financial stress in student’s range of media coverage including:

Article in the Huffington Post:

Interview on radio 4 womens hour:

Article in the Independent:

2015 paper on tuition fees and mental health discussed in time higher education online.

2013 paper on debt and mental health mentioned in Huffington post.

Quoted in The Guardian responding to findings that more students seeking counselling:

Article in Science Magazine online on research on debt and mental health

Article on finances employment and depression based on my research and conversation with me. 


• Invited to House of Commons for launch event with MPs and Martin Lewis on impulsive spending when unwell (2016).

• Mental health advisor to ‘tech for good’ even run by Financial Conduct Authority and MMHPI.

• Advisor to the Children’s Society Charity on their report about Debt and Mental Health (2016). 

• Panelist for launch of report ‘The Other One in Four’ my Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

• Bipolar group work quoted in ‘Who’s job is it anyway?’ report by  Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (2017).  


Related research groups

Centre for Innovation in Mental Health (CiMH)
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