The relationship between money and mental health is complex and multifaceted. Financial issues can have a significant impact on mental well-being, and poor mental health can also make it more challenging to manage money effectively.
Whilst money can directly impact our mental health, having mental health problems can also make it more difficult to manage money effectively. For example depression and anxiety can reduce motivation to address money issues and make money management feel harder e.g making financial decisions may feel overwhelming, overspending may be used to feel better in the short term, and it may feel harder to organise finances, budget effectively, and plan for the future.
At least one in four adults experience a mental health problem each year. Experiencing a mental health problem can mean it becomes extremely challenging to access timely advice and support around money problems. Things like picking up the phone, checking online banking or opening the post can fill someone with such overwhelming anxiety that they become impossible tasks. This can result in a vicious cycle where money problems escalate resulting in deteriorating mental health.
In the UK, it is estimated that 50% of people in debt also experience a mental health problem. And one in five people experiencing a mental health problem also experience money issues.
Addressing the intersection between money and mental health requires a holistic approach. It involves not only addressing the immediate financial challenges but also having timely access to mental health support, you can find out more about our support groups here. We provide safe spaces where you can discuss financial and other worries free from judgement.
Financial Stress and Anxiety
Financial stress is a common cause of anxiety and can contribute to various mental health issues. Individuals facing financial difficulties may experience constant worry, sleep disturbances, and increased levels of stress. The pressure to meet financial obligations and the fear of not having enough money can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair.
Relationships and Financial Strain
Money problems can strain relationships, causing conflict, resentment, and communication breakdowns. Financial difficulties may lead to arguments and a lack of trust between partners or family members. This strain on relationships can contribute to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression, impacting the mental well-being of individuals involved.
Depression and Income Inequality
Research has shown a correlation between income inequality and higher rates of depression. Financial limitations can restrict access to resources, opportunities, and quality healthcare, leading to a sense of hopelessness and social exclusion. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds often face increased mental health challenges due to the financial constraints they experience.
Seeking Support and Building Resilience
It is crucial for individuals facing financial challenges to seek support and develop coping mechanisms. Open communication about money matters within relationships, seeking professional advice, and accessing community resources can provide valuable assistance. Building resilience through financial literacy, budgeting, and cultivating a positive mindset can help individuals navigate financial stress and mitigate its impact on mental health.
Money has a profound effect on mental health, and the challenges it poses should not be underestimated. Recognising the impact of financial stress and taking proactive steps to manage it is essential for maintaining overall well-being. By addressing the relationship between money and mental health, we can work towards a society that supports individuals in achieving financial stability and better mental health.
Strategies for Support
Managing mental health around financial stress and difficulties can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can employ to help alleviate the impact on your well-being. Here are some strategies to consider:
1. Recognise and acknowledge your emotions
It’s important to acknowledge and accept the emotions you’re experiencing, such as stress, anxiety, or frustration. Recognising these feelings can help you address them more effectively.
2. Seek support
Reach out to friends, family, or a peer support network to discuss your concerns. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can provide emotional support and different perspectives on managing financial stress.
3. Take care of your physical health
Engage in activities that promote physical well-being, such as regular exercise, we run weekly Walk and Talk sessions for our members (find out more info here), maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. Physical health can positively impact mental health and resilience.
4. Create a budget and set financial goals
Develop a budget to gain a clear understanding of your income, expenses, and financial obligations. Setting realistic short-term and long-term financial goals can help you regain a sense of control and direction.
5. Seek professional advice
There are several local organisations who can offer free support and advice. See the list here for more info. [link to signposting section when done]. They can help you develop strategies to reduce debt, create a repayment plan, and explore options for improving your financial situation.
6. Prioritise and make informed decisions
Identify essential expenses and prioritise them over non-essential ones. Make informed choices when it comes to spending and seek alternatives to reduce costs, such as negotiating bills or finding more affordable options.
7. Practice self-care and stress management techniques
Engage in activities that help you relax and unwind, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy and distraction from financial worries.
8. Seek potential financial assistance
Explore available resources and support systems in your community. Research government assistance programs, charities, or nonprofit organisations that may offer financial aid, food assistance, or help with utility bills.
9. Limit exposure to financial triggers
If constant exposure to financial news or discussions exacerbates your stress, consider limiting your exposure or taking breaks from such information. Focus on the things you can control and take positive actions towards your financial well-being.
10. Practice gratitude and positivity
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by focusing on the positive aspects of your life. Recognise and appreciate what you have, rather than dwelling on what you lack. This mindset shift can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Remember, managing financial stress takes time, patience, and effort. It’s essential to be kind to yourself and seek professional help if needed.
Support and Services Available in Bristol
Financial difficulties and the impact on mental health can be deeply interconnected. Struggling with money-related problems often leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.If you or someone you know is struggling with money-related stress, it’s essential to seek support. These organisations in Bristol are here to help you navigate the challenges, provide guidance, and offer a compassionate ear.
In Bristol, there are several resources and organisations that can provide financial signposting and support. Here are some of them:
1. Citizens Advice Bristol
Citizens Advice provides free and impartial advice on various issues, including money management, debt, benefits, and housing. They can offer guidance on budgeting, debt management, and accessing financial assistance. Visit their website https://www.bristolcab.org.uk/ or contact their local office at 0808 2787957 for more information.
2. Bristol Money Advice Partnership
This partnership consists of various organisations working together to provide free debt advice and financial support services. They offer confidential advice, debt management plans, and assistance in dealing with creditors. You can find more information on their website https://www.bristol.gov.uk/residents/benefits-and-financial-help/help-with-money-and-debt-problems
3. Talking Money
Provides debt advice, energy advice, benefits advice, financial education and training and consultancy. They play a vital role in making free, independent, confidential and professional advice available to people in financial difficulty. You can call on 01179 543990 or 0800 1214511 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at https://www.talkingmoney.org.uk/
4. Great Western Credit Union
A credit union is a financial cooperative that offers savings accounts, loans, and other financial services to its members. Great Wesern Credit Union provides affordable loans, savings accounts, and budgeting advice to help individuals manage their money effectively. Check their website https://greatwesterncu.org/ for more details on membership and services or call them on 0117 924 7309.
5. Bristol City Council
The Bristol City Council website offers information on local services and support available to residents. They provide advice on benefits, housing, council tax, and other financial matters. Visit their website or contact their local offices for specific assistance and signposting. They have a page specifically for cost of living support visit it here https://www.bristol.gov.uk/residents/people-and-communities/cost-of-living-support
6. Local Food Support
There are many different organisations offering local food support in Bristol and the South West. These include The Trussel Trust https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/ who offer the largest network of foodbanks in the UK. Fareshare South West also have information about other services available to individuals and families. https://faresharesouthwest.org.uk/food-support-for-individuals/
7. CSE - Centre for Sustainable Energy
- They bring people together to transform the energy system and tackle the climate emergency, they share their knowledge and practical experience to empower people to change the way they think and act about energy. You can call them on 0117 934 1400 or go to their website at https://www.cse.org.uk/
They offer gambling advice/help and support for over 16’s for anyone affected by a gambling problem. You can call: 0330 1340 286 or the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 802 0133 or access their website at https://www.recovery4all.co.uk/gambling-help/
10. Money and Pensions Service
The Money and Pensions Service https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk/ is a national organisation that provides free and impartial money advice. Their website offers a wide range of resources, including budgeting tools, debt advice, and guides on various financial topics. You can also call them on 01159 659570
It’s worth noting that the availability and specific services provided by these organisations may vary over time. Therefore, it’s recommended to visit their websites or contact them directly to access the most up-to-date information and support.
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