Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse. Sorting things out can sometimes feel overwhelming. Taking things a step at a time is really important.
Here are our top tips to help you get started:
1.Understand your behaviour
Your mental health can affect how you manage money in lots of different ways. Recognising those patterns can help you find solutions that work for you.
- Think about when you spend money and why.
- Think about what aspects of money make your mental health worse – is it talking to people, opening envelopes, confrontation or when people get things wrong? Or is it something else?
- It could help to keep a diary of your spending. Try and record what you spent and why. Keep a record of our behaviour you can think about what might help. Sometimes just being aware of these patterns can help you feel more in control.
If you spend a lot when you are unwell
What you can do right now
- Do something else that makes you feel good. Go for a walk, call a friend or watch something that you enjoy.
- Tell yourself ‘I will buy this tomorrow if I still feel like it then’.
How you can plan ahead
- Try giving your cards to someone else or putting them somewhere difficult to access.
- Make it more difficult to spend money online. Don’t save your card details into websites.
- Talk to friends and family about your triggers and warning signs so they can help you.
- Consider asking your bank to add a note to your credit file.
- Some people find it helpful to avoid credit cards completely.
If you feel anxious about speaking to people or dealing with letters and bills
What you can do right now
- Ask someone you trust to open your letters for you and let you know if any of them are important.
- Consider letting the person you are speaking to know that you have a mental health problem.
How you can plan ahead
- If you feel uncomfortable visiting a branch or talking on the phone, find a bank that has online banking and web chat services.
- Your GP or another health professional may be able to provide a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. This can help make sure that creditors take your mental health problems into account.
2.Talk to someone you trust
Sharing your worries and talking things through can be a relief. But it isn’t always easy. Try and choose a quiet moment when the other person isn’t distracted. It can sometimes help to make notes first or even write everything in a letter.
Here are some people who might be able to help.
- A friend or family member.
- A support worker or health professional.
- Your local Mind may be able to help you work out who to talk to. They may also be able to help you get an advocate (someone who can give you support to express your wishes and make sure your voice is heard).
- Student services. If you are a student, you might find it helpful to talk to your tutor or someone in student services. They may be able to help you apply for additional grants or bursaries.
- Peer support. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends, you could consider looking for some peer support from other people who have been there.
- Samaritans. Money worries can make you feel trapped and hopeless. If you are finding it difficult to see a way forward you could talk to Samaritans for free on 116 123 or [email protected]
- Choose a regular time to look at your money and bills each week so that things don’t pile up.
- Put all important records and documents (for example, payslips, bank statements, bills and receipts) in one place, so that you can find them easily.
- Create a budget (the Money Advice Service can help).
- Look into bank accounts that allow you to put money aside for essentials in separate sub-accounts. This can help prevent you spending money you need for rent or bills.
- Try just taking as much money out as you want to spend each week.
4.Seek Professional Advice
It can feel very hard to talk about money problems and ask for help. You may find it hard to do things that make you anxious or tired, for example using the phone, waiting for an appointment or going to an unfamiliar building.If you’ve had a bad experience with an advisor or a bank in the past, you might feel as if there’s no point in trying again.But there are lots of places and people who want to help you. Sometimes getting professional advice can be a real relief.
National Minds useful contacts page has lots of information about places that can help with different kinds of money issues. Click here for more information.
If you feel you need more help with your mental health, have a look at National Minds website seeking help for a mental health problem. Click here to visit National Mind.
How can I prepare for my phone call or appointment?
- Write things down – try making notes on everything you want to ask about.
- Collect all your paperwork together – it’s useful to take any bills, letters and bank statements with you. If you’re not sure what would be helpful to bring, ask the advisor when you make the appointment.
- Plan your journey beforehand and leave extra time so you don’t worry about getting lost.
- Think about asking a friend or family member to go with you for support.
Make sure you understand what you have been told and what you need to do next. Ask your advisor if anything is unclear.
Make a note of everything that you talked about or ask the advisor to send you a summary.
5.Look after yourself
Money worries can have a big impact on your general wellbeing, which can sometimes make it even harder to take positive steps. It can help to try and notice when your mood and behaviour start to change and think about what you can do to help yourself. This can help you feel more in control and prevent money problems getting worse.
- Are these things affecting how you feel? What could you do to change them?
- Visit our other pages on “Looking After Your Mental Health” to help you look after yourself and boost your overall wellbeing.
Download our tips in a printable format:
You may also find the following online resources helpful: