Money and mental health
This is quite a serious issue but one that must be addressed as Christmas is upon us and more and more people are discussing their mental health; it’s time to talk about how money and debt and mental health are linked.
How is debt linked to mental health?
55% of people in household arrears are worrying on a daily basis about how they will make ends meet, and this is set to rise as consumers racked up a record £17.1billion of credit card debt ahead of the Christmas period.
Shoppers have also been warned over ‘borrowing binges’ during Christmas this year.
Debt can cause or exacerbate mental health issues while mental health issues can also increase debt – it is a vicious circle.
You are up to four times more likely to be in debt crisis if you or your partner has a mental health issue and the treatment time for clinical depression is said to be up to 18 months longer if you also have financial problems.
It is easy to understand how this happens as redundancy, bereavement and relationships breakdowns can all take their toll on finances as well as emotional well being and when debt mounts up, so does stress and anxiety.
A 2017 survey by debt counsellors Christians Against Poverty found that 73% of those seeking debt help said debt made them ill. Three quarters (76%) of those in relationships said debt negatively affected their relationship and more than a third (35%) had considered or attempted suicide.
How can I manage my money better?
There are of course many ways to save money, but if it is too late for that and you have found yourself in debt then there are are some simple steps you can take to tackle it as soon as it starts to mount up.
Although you might not want to look and just bury your head in the sand, you need to keep a close eye on bank balances to avoid overdraft charges and make sure you stick to one or two debit and credit cards at a time.
If you feel you need to, hand over cards to a trusted friend or family member, especially cards with the highest credit limit.
Put as many concrete blocks between you and spending as possible; it’s a good idea to use parental controls to make internet shopping harder, also consider calling credit card providers to ask them to lower your limits.
Thanks to technology there are many tools that you can use to help you manage your money, the best free money budget app depends on what it is you’re looking for, some of them actually care about your happiness, others enable you to create different categories for different spending habits, others track and evaluate your spending.
Seeking help with mental health
All the help available just shows that there is a demand out there for it, so if you’re struggling to manage your money, remember you’re not the only one. Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t run away from it, however, if you are worried about your mental health, then the best advice is to see a doctor.
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