Mental Health Awareness Week: Money, People and Financial Wellbeing

May 13, 2022 • Chris Bardsley

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and if there’s one thing that causes stress – it’s money. Over 1.5 million Brits have spiralling debt and mental health problems, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

Financial and mental health are inextricably interlinked. You are likely to feel low or anxious when you have money issues. And when you are struggling with your mental health, money management is one of the first things to go.

Mental illness comes in all different shapes and sizes – from generalised anxiety and depression to more severe conditions like bipolar disorder. Mental illness can have life-changing ramifications, and everyone is entitled to their own experience. While mental illness refers to specific conditions, mental health is your state of mind and emotional wellbeing. It’s important to decipher between the two when discussing this hot topic.

So let’s dive into mental health, money issues and low-income households – and how they can impact one another.

Mental health and money problems

Mental health problems can quickly lead to financial worries and problem debt. Equally, money problems can trigger a mental health condition. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between the two.

How does mental health impact money?

  • The spending high – Shopping is a quick and easy remedy for stressful days. Whether it’s scrolling through Asos or perusing the local high street, nothing quite beats the shopper’s high. However, once you have purchased something, the high is quickly followed by guilt and stress. Overspending is often a temporary coping mechanism for a much bigger mental health problem.
  • Ability to work or study – Mental health is the main reason for long-term absence (four weeks or more) in the UK workplace, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. A mental health problem can have a huge impact on your ability to work and earn a steady wage. Money worries may have triggered your mental health problems, causing you to take time off work and earn less money. It’s a vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to escape.
  • Avoiding money management – When you feel anxious, budgeting is the last thing on your mind. Many people stop checking their bank balance and budget during a low period. Unfortunately, avoiding money management can quickly lead to worse financial problems later down the line.

How does money affect your mental health?

  • Bill anxiety – Some of us feel nervous about opening bills, especially if they change from month to month. The UK is currently dealing with soaring energy bills that are likely to cause feelings of anxiety and panic.
  • Struggling to afford items – The cost of living has sky-rocketed in recent months, and millions of Brits can’t afford necessities like toothpaste. It’s common to feel panicked about rising costs, particularly housing, food, water and heating.
  • Social life – Financial difficulties can impact your social life and relationships. You may feel isolated and depressed if you can’t afford to go out with your friends. Many people also feel embarrassed about their money issues.

Borrowing money

Most Brits feel comfortable asking for up to £1,500 at any one time from their loved ones, according to a recent study by Shawbrook Bank Personal Loans. While we feel comfortable asking for financial help from a family member or friend, we don’t take this decision lightly.

Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. Informal borrowing can be a good option for those with poor credit or mental health issues. Understanding Society conducted a study with 40,000 UK households and found people with mental health problems are one and a half times as likely to borrow from loved ones. Sometimes, an informal loan is the only way to stay afloat when your mental health deteriorates.

However, many people borrow money to cover their overspending with Buy Now, Pay Later schemes and payday loans. These borrowing methods can sometimes land you in a lot of debt – especially when paired with high-interest rates and hidden fees. Fortunately, Fair for You offers loans with flexible repayment plans to help you cover the cost of household essentials. Whether you need a new fridge or washing machine, Fair for You is here to help.

Before you start borrowing money, do your research and find the best plan available. You can manage repayments, cover costs and keep your stress levels to a minimum. Check out our money advice tips for positive mental and financial wellbeing.

Check your bank balance daily

You need to know exactly how much money you have on a daily basis. Download your banking app and turn on notifications for payments. Managing your finances is easier when you can see what’s coming in and out of your account each month. Some banks, like Monzo, even have budgeting features available to keep you on track.

Look at the benefits available

There are benefits available if you have a mental illness and financial difficulties. Claiming benefits can help you pay for day-to-day costs while managing your mental health. The following benefits may apply to you:

  • Personal Independence Payment – If you need help with daily activities or getting around due to a mental illness or physical disability.
  • Universal Credit – For low-income individuals or those too unwell to work.
  • Employment and Support Allowance – You can’t work due to illness or disability.
  • Council Tax Exemptions and Discounts – You can claim a tax exemption or discount for mental health if you have a severe mental impairment.
  • Attendance Allowance – If you are at State Pension Age and need extra financial support for poor mental health.

Set a budget

Handling your budget and household spending is absolutely essential for your financial and mental wellbeing. A budget helps manage your finances, so you have enough money for the month ahead. Look at your past three bank statements and note how much you spend on debt, food, entertainment, savings, etc. Managing money is a learning process, and it can take a while to find the right balance between debt repayments and daily spending. Plan ahead, manage your finances and take back control over your own life.

Identify the cause of your financial stress

You need to find the root of your financial problems. You might be drowning in debt repayments or struggling to cover your household bills amid the current energy crisis. Once you know the cause, you can make a plan to ease your money worries. Switch energy providers, apply for benefits or ask a family member for urgent help. You could even apply for a loan with Fair for You if you need some new appliances.

Money advice service providers and mental health charities

There is an abundance of mental health charities and money advice service providers online – from Money Saving Expert to Mind. These organisations share real-life stories of people struggling with money and mental health. They provide detailed information on money management and free resources to help you.

There are countless money advice organisations supporting people affected by the cost of living crisis in the UK. If you need advice on welfare benefits (like universal credit) and charitable grants, we recommend the registered charity, Turn2us. Or, you could visit StepChange for debt advice based on a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation. Just make sure they’re a registered charity before proceeding.

If you’re currently struggling with your mental health, remember there is always help available. Check out these helpful organisations:

  • Samaritans – They offer emotional support for those experiencing distress or despair. Contact a Samaritan over the phone, email or face-to-face. You can even write a letter if you prefer.
  • Mental Health and Money Advice – Financial debt can take a toll on your mental health. The Mental Health and Money Advice service provide clear and practical support when you’re struggling.
  • Mind – This charity offers signposting services and information on mental health. Call or email their Infoline to discuss treatment options.
  • SHOUT – A 24/7 text service that is free on any major mobile network. This is perfect if you need help quickly.

Find Out More

If you or anyone you know is struggling to afford the basic items they need to furnish their home or support their family, then Fair for You is here to help.

As mentioned, we look to offer essential goods to those on a low income, but in a way, that’s different to the companies that set out to do so for massive profit at your expense. Instead, Fair for You is on your side, and we strive to offer our stock at the lowest price possible in line with retail value with a flexible payment schedule. Our focus is on people, not profit.

Check out our online shop to view our products for sale, including beds, laptops, sofa, dining room furniture, children’s beds, hoovers and much more.

This entry was posted in Health and Wellness and Blog