Money and Mental Health
According to a survey conducted by Money and Mental Health, almost four in ten (39%) people with a mental health problem said their financial situation had worsened their mental health problems. And with the cost of everyday living, such as groceries, energy bills and fuel, having risen recently, many of us are worrying about money for the first time.
If you’re worrying about money, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are not alone.
Call Citizens Advice Freephone Adviceline on 0808 278 7897 for advice on work, benefits, debt, pensions and energy solutions. Or reach out to Clean Slate on 01225 302200 or via their webchat. They can support you with finding work (or better paid work!) and to re-organise how you manage your money.
Below you’ll find further information to help you understand the link between money and mental health, plus tips on how to organise your finances, speak to services and where to go for support with your mental health.
The link between money and mental health
Worrying about money can impact your mental health, while living with a mental health condition can make earning and managing money more difficult. This can feel exhausting and create the feeling of being stuck in a ‘vicious cycle’ – money worries lead to difficulty managing money and vice versa.
Some common ways your mental health can affect the way you deal with money are:
- You may lack motivation to manage your finances if you’re feeling low or depressed.
- Spending may give you a brief high, so you might overspend to feel better.
- You might make impulsive financial decisions.
- Your income may be reduced if your mental health affects your ability to work or study.
- You might avoid doing things to stay on top of your money, like opening bills or checking your bank account.
Some common ways that money worries can affect your mental health are:
- Worrying about money may feel like your mind can’t focus on anything else.
- You may start to feel low and experience feelings such as shame, embarrassment, or guilt.
- You could find yourself beginning to withdraw, avoiding certain people, place bills, or activities.
Organising your finances
There are things you can try to help organise your money. Some tips are:
- Make sure you’re claiming any extra money or support you’re entitled to. Bath Mind are part of a joint partnership with Citizens Advice BANES which can advise you on welfare benefits, support you in maximising your income, and appeal decisions. To access this service, contact Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7897 and ask for the Welfare Benefit Service.
- Create a budget. The Money Helper website has helpful budgeting advice as well as a free budget planner.
- Put all your important documents in one place so you can find them easily. This could be bank statements, bills and payslips.
- If you’re struggling to pay off your debts, get debt advice. You might find it helpful to contact a debt organisation such as Money Advice Service, National Debtline, or StepChange Debt Charity.
- Set up direct debits for your bills and other regular payments so they don’t pile up.
- Make a plan for ways to distract yourself, ready for if you notice changes in your mood that might affect your spending. You could also remove shopping apps from your phone that you might be tempted to use.
- When you’re feeling well, put money aside for times when you might not be able to focus so well on money. This might be in a savings account or piggy bank.
Dealing with services
It’s up to you whether you tell services, such as your bank, energy provider or council, about your mental health. Here are some tips on how to deal with services:
- If you do decide to tell a service about your mental health, you don’t have to tell them everything. Perhaps you just want to tell them how your mental health affects your ability to pay bills, open letters or speak on the phone. Explain why you’re telling them this information and what you want them to use it for. For example, you may want to ask your bank to make some changes so that you feel more comfortable when they contact you, or you may want them to tell you about limits they can put on your bank account.
- You could get a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF) from your GP. This helps to make sure that debt companies take your mental health into account.
- If you get anxious or worried about making phone calls or going to appointments, this is understandable. Ask a friend or family member to support you, or to be around for you to talk to afterwards.
- If you don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone, use services which allow you to manage your account online or let you speak to someone using web chat.
- Before attending an appointment, it may be a good idea to contact the service to ask what you can expect on the day. Make notes on everything you want to ask and prepare for any questions that may be asked.
- Prepare all your paperwork together, such as bills and bank statements, so that you have all the information ready during the phone call or appointment.
- After speaking to a service, keep notes of everything you talked about. You can also ask the service to send you a summary after the appointment.
If you are experiencing money problems and mental ill health, there is help available. Below are some useful tips, organisations and resources.
- Speak to a support worker or health professional, like your GP.
- Talk to a friend, family member or colleague. Sometimes just talking to someone can really help.
- It may help to look at psychological therapy services in your area. You can refer yourself directly to NHS talking therapies and to Bath Mind’s talking therapies
- Contact a helpline such as Bath Mind’s Breathing Space service or Samaritans for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.
- Money Helper has lots of information on managing your money if you’re in hospital, unable to work due to mental ill health or helping someone else manage their money.
- Citizens Advice is a good place to get information about benefits, how to deal with debt, energy solutions and support if you’re made redundant or facing employment uncertainty.
- Clean Slate help local low income households become better off through free drop-in services, workshops and phone support.
- Our Food and Mood group share tips on how to eat well on a budget.
- Find useful tips about managing money from the Money Saving Expert.
- Use a free toolkit such as Mental Health and Money Advice’s money and mental health toolkit.
- Download the national Mind charity’s helpful PDF on managing your money and improving your mental health here.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health due to money worries, or if you would like to discuss your wellbeing, you can reach out to us in confidence – our details can be found here.