28th February 2022

Are money worries affecting your mental health?

Organising your finances can feel like an overwhelming task, especially when it’s affecting your mental health. Take a look at the tips on this page to help you get started on understanding how your mental health and your money worries may be connected. 
Your mental health may affect your finances by: 
·         Preventing you from being able to work, which may reduce your income
·         Reducing your motivation to manage your finances or giving up on getting started
·         Overspending to feel better 
·         Making impulsive financial decisions 
·         Avoiding checking your bank balance, opening bills and keeping up with payments
Money can affect your mental health by: 
·         Affecting your ability to sleep when you can’t stop thinking about your money worries 
·         Preventing you from affording food, heating, medication or meeting your mortgage or rent payments affecting your well-being
·         Stopping you from being able to go out with friends, so you feel isolated and lonely
·         Feeling anxiety or panic when you receive a bill 
Money worries can affect you emotionally, you may feel: 
·         Exhausted if you’ve been dealing with financial concerns for a long time 
·         Stressed if you have other family members to support or don’t know when to begin to help yourself
·         Ashamed if you need financial support. It is important to remember that everyone has the right to support with housing and food.  
·         Afraid to speak to your bank or to check your finances
·         Guilt when you need to spend money but can’t afford to, or you may feel guilty for seeking support
When you start to connect with your money worries and your emotions, you can begin to see patterns forming, which can help you feel more in control. 
Take some time to start focussing on how you feel about money and why by answering the following questions. 
·         When dealing with money, what aspects affect your mental health the most? It could be the fear and apprehension of opening a bill, the sense of shame when seeking support or being judged or misunderstood at appointments. 
·         What feelings come up for you when you start thinking about money? 
·         How do you feel when you have to spend money? 
·         Are there times when you are more likely to spend or save money? 
·         Have you been financially abused in the past? If so, how does this affect your spending patterns? 
Keeping a journal of how you feel and how your emotions change when dealing with financial issues can help you identify what you spend and why. You can also record how you feel before opening a bill and how you feel after. Recording these thoughts and feelings will help you to understand your behaviour. Knowing this can help you put a strategy in place and plan ahead for the next time you face a difficult situation. 
Overspending can happen for many reasons, including: 
·         Providing a temporary high 
·         Mania or hypomania can cause impulsive spending 
·         Addiction or dependency, such as gambling 
Tips to help you stop overspending 
·         Don’t save your card detail on websites 
·         Delete the apps that you overspend on 
·         Limit the amount of time you spend on social media; adverts can be triggering 
·         Delay making impulsive purchases by making a list and seeing if you still would like the item at the end of the month
·         Distract yourself with an activity you enjoy and makes you feel good
·         Speak to someone you trust. Getting it out in the open can help you begin to take steps towards seeking support
Gambling and Addiction 
If you need help with your gambling addiction, here are some services that can support you. 
·         Use GAMSTOP’s free gambling restriction service, which allows you to put a time limit on accessing gambling websites or apps
·         Join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous 
·         Seek treatment from the National Problem Gambling Clinic
·         Call the GamCare 24 hour helpline 
If you need help with your mental health, speak to a health professional such as your GP, who can support you in getting a referral or provide you with information about support groups in your area...

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