The Covid pandemic has had a profound effect on the mental health of millions – and for many of those struggling, money worries will almost certainly play a part.
The past year and a half saw millions of people put on furlough after businesses were forced to close in lockdown, leaving them unable to work – while other companies collapsed altogether, leading to unemployment for many.
Concerns over soaring energy bills and rising food prices are also playing their role in exacerbating money worries, amid reports many may have to choose between ‘heating or eating’ over the winter months.
If things get so bad that it’s affecting your mental health and leaving you unable to cope, where can you get the help and support you need?
How to deal with financial worries
If you are already struggling with your mental health, it can make earning and managing money more of a challenge.
According to Mind, this can lead to a vicious cycle where worrying about money can also have a negative effect on your mental health.
Luckily there is support out there, and there are plenty of places which can help you budget, deal with debt and support you as you attempt to keep your finances on track.
The NHS has offered the following advice if you are struggling with financial stress:
Stay active – keep in touch with people, keep your CV up to date, and try to keep paying your bills. Exercise can also help, and they have offered advice on how you can keep active for free while on a low income.
Keep to your daily routine – get up at your normal time and stick to your routine – also ensuring you are eating regular meals at the usual times. Do not drink too much alcohol either, as this could add to your stress.
Face your fears – get advice on how to prioitise your debts. Facing up to the situation instead of trying to avoid it will make it easier to solve.
The Mind website also has useful advice on how to keep to a budget – their tips include making a list of all the essential things you need to spend money on, such as rent, bills and food, using cash instead of cards in order to keep track of your spending, and checking your bank balance at a regular, set time.
Above all, if you have financial issues you should seek help as soon as possible – the longer you leave it, the worse things are likely to get.
Where to get help for debt and managing money
The Citizens Advice Bureau is always a good place to start if you’re looking for help with debt or managing money.
They can offer advice on everything from debt relief – including advice on bankruptcy, individual voluntary arrangements and mortgage worries, through to do what to do if you cannot pay your bills because of Covid.
They also have a very useful section on how to ensure your redundancy is fair, if you find yourself in a redundancy situation.
This is particularly useful for those who might find themselves in this situation in the wake of the pandemic, as you can check how much money you might qualify for, and what your options are going forward.
Equifax also offers a comprehensive section on how to deal with debt, including how to make a Debt Management Plan which will help you pay off what you owe.
For those dealing with money worries and mental health issues, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute – a charity founded by MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis – which among other things offers a downloadable Money and Mental Health Toolkit for those looking to improve their financial situation.
StepChange debt charity is another organisation which can help people manage their debt, providing free confidential advice and giving the best solution for you depending on your circumstances.
You can also sign up to their free ‘7 Days 7 Ways’ programme to help you take back control of your finances.
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