This year, most of us have felt the strain on our finances. Job losses, insufficient financial support, and less career opportunities have left many of us feeling uncertain and overwhelmed. Unfortunately, money troubles can have a negative effect on our mental health, such as heightened anxiety, stress, or sadness.
However, there is help available for those struggling with their finances, mental health, or a combination of both. Read on to learn more about our 5-step blueprint for coping in a crisis and where you can find further support for money worries.
Reach out to stay safe
Contact a trusted family member, friend or professional and let them know you are struggling to cope with your financial situation or your mental health. Always remember that no one is strong all the time. It is ok to have moments where you need extra support from those you love. The goal isn’t for them to fix your issues, but to listen to you and support you through your difficulties.
Remember, if you need someone to talk to, you can always contact the Samaritans for free by phone at 116 123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for emotional support.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are many different organisations with resources, expertise, and time to support you through mental health or financial difficulties. Visit http://bit.ly/DMOrgDirec for our database of useful links to organisations supporting people through many common problems, such as gambling addiction, housing, or debt support charities.
Make a simple plan
Even if your financial situation seems inescapable or impossible to fix completely, there may be some steps you can take to improve your situation. Ignoring your problems may make you feel better in the short term, but in the long run it will only exacerbate your issues. Although it may feel difficult, making a plan can help you regain a sense of control and help you feel less overwhelmed. If you feel distressed, try making the plan with the help of a loved one. Alternatively, organisations such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Step Change can offer further support with budgeting and debt relief.
Prioritise your wellbeing
No matter what, your mental health should come first. Whilst this doesn’t mean that you should fulfil every material want that crosses your mind in the name of better mental health, you should always make the time to protect your wellbeing. Schedule in self-care, educate yourself on living life mentally healthily and talk to mental health professionals if you need further support. Take a look at the 5 Ways to Wellbeing for small ways to improve your mental health every day.
- Keep talking
You matter, and in whatever form, and to whoever you feel comfortable, keep talking about how you feel. The simple act of talking will continue to help you process your feelings and help you to plan for the future. It will also help you release and dissipate negative, difficult or overwhelming feelings.
Be mindful of how your mental health and spending habits influence each other
Take note of when you tend to spend or save more. Do your emotions affect your spending? Which aspects of dealing with money make your mental health worse? Being aware of how you feel and how it affects your behaviour can help you learn when to prepare for increased stress and take better control of the situation. Try keeping a diary of your mood and spending to see if you can spot any patterns that you can use to improve your wellbeing and spending habits.
It is always worth reaching out and asking for help. Remember, if your mental health is affecting your daily life, contact your GP or other mental health professional to gain further support.
If you find yourself in a crisis now, please follow this link to organisations that can help you urgently.
By Lucy Lewis. Ambassador for Dorset Mind.