We often hear about how our finances can affect our mental well-being - but how does mental health affect FINANCIAL health?
Our mental health can affect our finances in many ways - from impulse spending, lack of energy and motivation to learn about money management and even avoiding debt.
Feeling low can make managing money harder, whilst worrying about money can make your mental health worse. This can often feel like a never-ending cycle, as illustrated by the infographic below from Mind.
For Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing this blog post to help raise awareness on how our mental health - and stress - can impact us most when it comes to our finances, along with tips and resources to help manage this impact.
Here are 3 ways mental health can impact our finances:
1) Debt Problems/Debt Avoidance
According to Money and Mental Health, 1 in 4 British adults with a mental health problem also had 'problem debt', and those with severe mental illness are 2.3 times more likely to experience money or debt issues.
An alarming 72% of respondents to this survey also claimed that their mental health problems had made their financial situation worse.
It’s clear that the link between problem debt and mental health is strong, and more needs to be done to help those experiencing financial difficulty as a result of their mental health.
If you’re worried about loan sharks, Stop Loan Sharks provides information and support and lets you report a suspected loan shark.
If you need to send a letter to creditors, read these example letters from the National Debt Helpline.
Contact a debt service near you. Christians Against Poverty provides support for debt and unemployment and lists the contact details of local debt services.
StepChange also provides free advice about money problems, debt and budgeting.
* Advice for Debt Support from Mind.org.uk
2) Employment Challenges
Did you know that people experiencing mental health problems are also less likely to be in paid employment?
According to the survey from Money and Mental Health, only 43% of those with mental health problems are currently in employment compared to 74% of the general population.
People with mental health problems are also more likely to be in low-pay, temporary, or part-time work, and many mental health issues can affect someone’s problem-solving and communication skills.
This can, in turn, increase the likelihood of financial difficulty as people with mental health issues will typically be on a lower income and may have trouble managing financial matters. The stress of being in low-paid work and struggling to pay for necessities can, again, exacerbate any mental health issues.
3) Poor Money Management
During periods of poor mental health, people often struggle to pay bills, spend more than usual, and even take out loans that they otherwise wouldn't have.
The impact this has on a person’s finances can be detrimental - with increased debt, loss of savings, bankruptcy and even having to go without essentials like food for the home.
Even more concerning, the combination of these negative events can make mental health issues even more of a challenge, leaving the person without any hope.
If you’re a student, speak to student services or your tutor. They could help you apply for extra grants or bursaries. See more information on managing your money as a student.
Find a foodbank near you.
The Mental Health and Money Advice website have guides on claiming benefits when you have a mental health problem.
Get help with accessing benefits and grants from Turn2Us.
Speak to someone from Citizens Advice. You could get free advice on your rights around money, housing and legal problems.
Use the tools on the Money Helper website. There are calculators for working out the costs of your savings, debts and loans, and letter templates for getting in touch with services.
Read tips about managing money from the Money Saving Expert.
*Advice for Support with Managing your Money from Mind.org.uk
Support for your mental health and money matters is out there.
Whilst seeking help can initially feel scary, people often report that doing so not only helps them view their situation more positively but also helps lift their financial burdens.
Make sure you talk to a trusted family member or friend and reach out to a health professional like your GP. Alternatively, you can find advice on the Mind website, Rethink or contact Samaritans for 24-hour support on 116 123.
For advice on opening up about money, check out our guide here.
Be sure to also check out stress.org.uk for more information on Stress Awareness Month 2022 and how to get involved.
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