Mental health has come under the spotlight far more in recent years. Now startling figures have revealed a strong link between mental health issues and money problems.
According to new data released by Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) during Mental Health Awareness Week, people experiencing a mental health problem are much more at risk of falling into serious financial difficulty than those who don’t.
The data, collected from more than 10,000 UK adults, reveal that people experiencing a mental health problem are:
- Four times as likely to be behind on priority bills (44% versus 11%)
- Four times as likely to be borrowing to pay off their debts (24% versus 6%)
- Three times as likely to often borrow to buy food or pay bills because they’ve run out of money (32% versus 11%)
- More than twice as likely to say thinking about their financial situation makes them anxious (57% vs 26%)
Money worries can affect your mental health and poor mental health can affect how you manage your money. If this is you, or someone you know here are some tips to help you find a way forward.
Build a budget
Budgeting will allow you to track all the money you have coming in and all the things you spend it on. The Budget Planner tool on the MoneyHelper website only takes ten minutes to fill out and it analyses your results to help you take back control of your household spending.
Check if you could be entitled to benefits
If you have a mental health condition, you might be entitled to help with benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment if you need help with everyday tasks. If you can’t work for an extended period, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to help replace lost income.
Contact your creditors
Organisations you owe money to, such as your bank, mortgage lender, credit card provider or energy supplier can help you in lots of ways. They might have a specialist team who can help customers in your position. For example, a credit card provider might agree to temporarily freeze your card when you feel like your spending is getting out of control.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or experiencing mania, you may spend more than you can control or feel comfortable about. Delete shopping apps you often use on your phone. Keep your wallet or purse out of easy reach. Make use of free online tools (such as BlockSite) that let you temporarily block shopping sites for as long as you want.
A problem shared
One of the best places to start if you have money worries is to talk to someone you trust. It can feel daunting, but opening up to someone – whether it’s a friend, family member or expert – about how you’re feeling can bring some relief and they can provide emotional support.
Seek free debt advice
If you are worried about debt, you can speak to a specialist today to help you start sorting out your financial problems. A debt adviser will talk you through your money worries and find ways to manage your debts. They can suggest solutions even if you don’t think you have any spare money to deal with your debts.
Your debt advisor can also help you understand if you could be eligible for Breathing Space (also called The Debt Respite Scheme) which gives someone in problem debt the right to legal protection from their creditors. You can find free confidential advice now using the MoneyHelper Debt Advice Locator Tool.
For more information visit moneyhelper.org.uk or call 0800 138 7777.