Your Mental Health and Your Money

What came first? The mental health problem or the money problem?

The recent pandemic has resulted in serious financial concerns for millions of people across the country. Naturally, people are worried about losing their job, for some that worry has proven to be a reality.

With payment holidays, loss of income, potentially mounting debts and bills that still need to be paid, the struggle over finances has become a reality for many.

And with that comes the worry, the anxiety and possibly depression.

As you might expect mental health issues and financial concerns are linked. And the recent events across the world have done nothing to help this.

Even if the loss of income isn’t a reality, the fear of loss of income is a reality that genuinely creates anxiety. But actually losing your job brings with it not only financial implications but psychological ones too. There’s likely to be an increase in anxiety over losing your self-worth and not being able to provide for yourself or family and an increased sense of isolation.

The NHS publishes advice on how to deal with money stress and mental health charity Mind also publishes help on managing money worries.

But it’s also worth remembering that if you’ve been made redundant or the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has left you in a poor financial state, it was not your doing. And you are certainly not alone.

There are some common connections between mental health and money. If you’re suffering low mood you may not feel like you want to deal with certain aspects of your life, including your finances.

Other common issues include:

·         Loss of income because you cannot work

·         Increased debt because of spending to feel better

·         Stress and sleep problems caused by money worries

·         Social isolation and not being able to afford basic things to improve wellness

Tips for Dealing with Stress and Anxiety over Money

·         Use friends for support and consider joining local groups

·         Try to stick to routines. Try and sleep as normally as possible and exercising naturally helps to lift your mood.

·         If you have mental health problems a doctor can give you a form (DMHF) so that debtors can recognise you have a medical condition.

Mental health issues can be caused by money problems and cause money problems too.

You might want to tell your bank that you’re experiencing mental health issues. It might help prevent any unwanted spending.

If debt is a concern you could also ask a trusted friend to open the bills for you. They can sort out which are the most important. Online banking is also great for helping manage your money in a better way.

If you think you will be severely unwell and may not be in a position to make decisions for yourself you can give someone power of attorney over your affairs. A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you. You would need legal advice, such as from these solicitors in Chelmsford, to arrange this for you.

Use Your Time to Budget

To frame things in a positive way the time you have been at home during the pandemic is time that can be used for setting out your budget. Also if you’ve saved money on travelling expenses you should include this.

Many debtors are allowing payment breaks and deferred payment schemes to help with debt while the world deals with the virus. The National Debtline has put together a document that offers advice on how you can get help with different loans, utility bills, and other payments you might be struggling to meet.

It’s always worth having a conversation with your lender first to see if there are ways they can help you deal with any debt. They may be open to putting a payment plan in place.

Remember, Take One Day at a Time

Debt, financial problems and your mental health can make it feel like you’re trapped in a vicious circle. Debt makes you stressed and anxious, stress and anxiety make it harder to manage your debt. You’re not alone and if it’s as a result of the current circumstances, it’s not your fault either.

Debt and financial strain can be managed. As Money Saving Expert put it “We’ve never yet heard of someone with debts so bad there isn’t a path through them. Starting to deal with them will make you feel better and will speed up the process.”

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