We are living in such turbulent times. So many things have happened which have put a strain on our pockets. Years of poor government, benefit cuts, tax rises, Brexit, the pandemic, unaffordable housing, rising fuel costs, the cost of living crisis. And now the war in Ukraine, making everything even more expensive.
Do you feel anxious when thinking about money? Maybe you are having sleepless nights? Are you eating less/overeating? Do you feel isolated, sad, withdrawn and maybe even completely overwhelmed by financial worries?
If so, then you could be suffering from debt stress.
Financial hardship is a major cause and risk factor for mental ill health. As you sink into financial difficulties your mental health suffers. And then you feel less able to deal with these financial matters. And then this can spiral into chaos.
I know, I’ve been there. I left my job in the City due to poor mental and physical health. Once my statutory sick pay ran out, I found myself on benefits. Creditors were chasing payments I could no longer make and I ended up in a big mess which had a huge impact on my mental health for years to come. This could all have been avoided with financial help which my bank just didn’t give.
Where to get help
There are lots of charities out there which can help you with debt, even before you get to the crisis stage. Maybe with all these rising costs, you’re just worried about how you’re going to meet your payments in the near future? If so you should really start to get some advice now.
There are many charities that can help and Mental Health UK (the sister charity to Rethink Mental Illness) has lots of great advice on mental health and money, from benefits to paying for mental health care. I really like their budget planner.
The Money Advice Trust run the National Debt Line where you can get help to find solutions to your debt problems.
Step Change are a national charity who do great work and are fully committed to helping those in debt and who may be suffering with poor mental health. Highly recommended!
You can’t go wrong with the good old CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau).
If you’re having problems with housing, Shelter are great. I’ve used them recently and saved myself a few hundred pounds in solicitors fee’s (and sleepless nights).
Martin Lewis’s Money and Mental Health Policy Institute are doing great work aiming to change policy and help break the link between financial and mental health problems.
I also really like Money Nerd, lots of great tips and advice on a range of things.
If you’re suffering with poor mental health you should always seek professional help so go and see your GP. If however the source of your poor mental health is financial worries, you need to seek professional financial advice. The main thing is don’t be afraid to ask, there’s no shame and help is there.