As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought we should take a quick break from top savings tips to discuss the crucial link between finance and mental health and where to get help if you or someone you know is struggling.
Now more than ever, with many people either out of work or facing significant drops in their income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, money worries are prevalent throughout society.
With 18 to 24-year-olds the most likely to have lost their jobs or have lost a significant proportion of their income, many young people are suffering at the moment and worrying about how they’ll pay their bills this month. This no doubt has a large impact on mental health.
Research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 46 percent of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem. While 86 percent of respondents to a Money and Mental Health survey of nearly 5,500 people with experience of mental health problems said that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.
However, the reverse is also true, creating a vicious circle. Almost one in five (18 percent) of people with mental health problems are in problem debt, and those with mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in problem debt than people without mental health problems (5 percent).
Mental health problems make it harder to earn, manage money and spending and to ask for help. At the same time financial difficulties cause stress and anxiety, which is exacerbated by the threat of eviction or repossession and collection activities.
Recognising the strain financial worries can have on our mental health is really important – as is asking for help if you, or someone you know, is suffering, even if you think the problems are only temporary.
Where to get help
If you need help with your mental health, or support with caring for someone else, you can find advice on the Mind, Rethink or Mental Health Foundation websites, or at NHS Choices. You can also text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line.
For 24-hour support you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.
For financial advice and support you can find useful information from Citizens Advice Bureau. National Debtline also has lots of information on benefits, and what support your bank could offer if you face a drop in income on its website.
This is no means an exhaustive list and there are plenty of NHS services and charities out there offering support to anyone struggling.