Managing money and the effect it can have on your mental wellbeing is often underestimated. If you’re feeling down, managing your finances can feel like a monumental task, and if, in turn, you are worrying about money, this can affect your wellbeing. You can get trapped in a vicious cycle, where you are battling between your money and your health.
Looking for the signs…
Here are some signs that you can look for that might indicate that money management is becoming a problem for you:
- You feel anxious about making decisions about money
- You avoid making decisions about money (which then causes problems later on)
- You spend money on unnecessary things and regret it later
- You feel anxious or stressed about opening bills, going to the bank or talking about money
- You are forgetting to do things that you need to do
What you can do to stay on top of your finances:
If you regularly struggle to manage your finances when your mental health is poor, there are a few practical things you can do:
- Give someone close to you permission to open your post for you. Opening bills and bank statements can feel like too much, which is why it is good to appoint someone close to you.
- If you have loans or debt, try not to ignore your creditors as they will continue to chase you. Speaking to them will help them give you some space to get your finances back on track.
- Banks and utility providers are now giving their staff training to help customers who are struggling with their mental health. You can contact them to let them know you need more support.
- GPs and other health professionals might be able to provide a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form, which can help ensure creditors take your mental health problems into account. However, not all creditors require this, so don’t feel like you must have the form before speaking to them.
Creating a budget is the most effective thing to do to ensure that you can stay on top of all things money when you’re not feeling your best. It can seem overwhelming to do at first, but it is worth the time and effort.
- The Money Advice Service has a free budget planning tool that has helped thousands of people manage their finances.
- Sit down with your bills and bank statements and ask someone you trust to help you.
- If you don’t have anyone to support you, you can call the free and impartial Money Advice Service helpline on 0800 138 7777, 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.
- You can also Whatsapp the team for debt-specific advice on +44 701 342744.
Free Debt Advice
Struggling with debt can be one of the most isolating things to go through. There are lots of free debt services available across the UK that can help you. A debt adviser can help you with any problem – big or small, and will never judge your situation, finding ways to manage your debt even if you feel that it is impossible.
Some online debt advice services are:
Over the phone, you can speak to:
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
- Payplan – 0800 280 2816
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111
- Debt Advice Foundation – 0800 622 61 51
If you are local to Bristol, attending one of our Changes Bristol groups can really help with your mental health and you can talk about your money worries here. The meetings are free, confidential and non-judgemental, and you’ll receive peer-to-peer support, talking through whatever is on your mind. You may find others there who also struggle with money management and talking about it can make you feel less alone.