In a study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, one in ten people (10%) of adults in the UK were feeling hopeless about their financial situation and more than one-third (34%) were feeling anxious about finances. This study is a strong indicator that financial well-being and mental health are linked.
Quite often it can be hard to tell whether the mental health issues came before the financial issues or the other way around. Whichever came first, it is always good to ask for help.
Having a mental health issue does not automatically mean that you are unable to manage your debts, although it can make it harder. Like physical illnesses, mental health disorders vary from person to person and therefore there is no universal diagnosis and treatment for everyone.
Managing debts can be challenging for anyone as finding a place to start can be hard to see. It’s always a good idea to find support with your debts as it can be harder to go it alone.
Poverty and mental health
As a society, there is a stigma around mental health and money. Many living in poverty may feel as though they cannot get help with either aspect.
Getting access to services such as a savings account or financial advice can be tough as there is a preconceived idea that you need money to be able to get help with your money. Often, financial providers are not in a position to help with mental health issues so that part of the issue can go unchecked.
Access to treatments and therapies
It can be difficult for people who are living in poverty to access services for both mental health and financial support.
As it is, the NHS has huge waiting lists for mental health support which leaves going private as the only option. People in poverty, however, cannot afford to pay out of pocket. This can mean their mental health issue goes untreated and any financial struggles get exacerbated and feel more overwhelming.
Help is available
Many organisations specialize in helping people with money issues. Money Helper offered free advice for anyone that is struggling with financial worries. They also offer a free, confidential support service if you would like to speak to someone about your specific issues.
Similarly, National Debtline and StepChange have advice lines you can contact for advice. These charities will treat you as an individual and give you realistic steps to help get your debts back under control.
Keeping your head above water
Feeling low or anxious when dealing with debts or a life-changing event such as losing your job is completely normal.
Staying active is helpful when looking to manage these symptoms. If you are out of work, keep your CV up to date and see if there are any volunteering opportunities near you. Exercise also helps to boost your mood and help you keep positive.
Keeping in your daily routine can help as well, as it may help you stay focused. Slipping out of your routine could cause you to miss meals or not eat properly which will make you feel worse.