Money Problems and Poor Mental Health.
It is with no surprise that mental health is affected by financial worries, with an astonishing 9.5 million Brits suffering from mental health issues due to money worries. More than 18 million UK adults worry about money on a daily basis with a third saying their sleep is affected.
Therefore utility companies should not be intimidating and be wolves at the door if your bill payment is a few days late. They need to show compassion and be more understanding rather than harass people. Landlords should also take into consideration a person, personal circumstances before demanding money at short notice, 30 days notice is not adequate time if you have not put into place a surplus amount of money that you can use should the creditor increase their prices by an astronomical amount over the rate of inflation. Just because a property rental price is lower than the average price, says if a tenant did not agree with the prices they would have no option but to pay the average cost or move to an entirely new area. However, if the tenant needs to be in the area for business reasons and they have been a long-term tenant this says that the person has stayed in the area for a reason. Therefore if a landlord deliberately makes s a person get into debt which in turn causes mental health issues, the landlord should then be liable for the ill health of a person.
Some people can manage their money to a certain degree whilst others find it very difficult.
Feeling your financial circumstances are too much to bear, often people try to avoid the problem hoping somehow it will go away, but it never does, and the more you ignore it the worse the situation will become.
It is a well-known fact that people struggling with money have a link to poor mental health.
Below I will address the following categories:
- What is the definition of poor mental wellbeing?
- Can poor mental health affect the way you deal with money?
- What if you feel everything has become too much and very overwhelming?
- How to return to the drawing board and try and re-budget your finance?
- Are there organizations I can try to get free debt help?
- How to Deal with creditors?
- What should you do if you have been unfairly treated?
- How to manage your expenditure whilst you’re in the hospital?
- What Benefits are there you can claim if you have poor mental health?
- If someone you know is struggling with mental health and financial issues, how to help them?
- If you cannot manage your money yourself who can help you?
- Getting extra support for mental health?
What is the definition of poor mental wellbeing?
If you are finding that your mental health is being affected because of your financial circumstances and life is starting to be very overwhelming with sadness, stress, and anxiety, you may be experiencing poor mental well being which you need to contact a health professional like your local GP.
Poor mental wellbeing is when you experience the loss of a loved one (grief) feeling lonely or in despair, having relationship issues, or money worries or your physical health is not so good or you may even have problems at work. Most of the time we know what is causing us to feel low and we need to admit to ourselves that we do have a problem and learn how to deal with it. By simply ignoring the problem or being in denial will only make matters worse.
If you are feeling very low to the extent you may be having suicidal thoughts because of your money worries, you need to talk to a friend, family, neighbour or stranger otherwise call 999 if you are in immediate danger or give the Samaritans a call on 166 123.
Poor mental health can come at any time and last indefinitely unless treated. Your financial circumstance and worries about money can cause a chain reaction of problems not only to your health but to your day-to-day living.
Mental Health issues such as anxiety depression, sadness, stress, and PTSD can happen to the best of us, and remember you are not alone there are other people out there that most probably going through what you are going through.
Can poor mental health affect the way you deal with money?
Poor mental health being can be an onset of events that have caused you to feel, stress, sadness, sorrow, and despair. Your mental health can cause you to have anxieties, stress, depression, lack of motivation.
Some examples of the domino effects that can cause a chain reaction include:
- Your income has been affected due to redundancies or could have stopped if you can’t work and are awaiting help from Univeral Credit, Housing Benefit, etc, or have to take time off work. It could also be because your child which is full-time education has turned 19 and you are no longer eligible to claim for your child tax credits even though their expenditure has not changed and you still have to feed them clothe them etc. (This is where the pencil pushers in parliament have not thought this through and have never been in this predicament). This is a loss of £400 per month and how is one supposed to live?
- Your Landlord decides to give you one month’s notice to increase the rent without giving a thought about your financial circumstance. Even comparing the increase to similar rents in the area. So what happens if you do not agree, he/she will serve you notice to quit and where will you go then? He /she could potentially make you homeless and would he/she care of course they would not.
- I have a saying “do I need it or do I want it”? If money is tight I weigh up would I be able to put off my wanting for another month. Could I live without whatever it is I want for a while until I could afford it? I have wised up to my financial spending about a decade too late. But now I have a better understanding of what is going in and what is going out. Someone with depression might spend their money on things they don’t need just to make themselves feel better and worry about consequences later, this will eventually become a vicious cycle with more unnecessary debt piling up.
- People with depression may feel anxious or stressed about doing things like facing people, talking on the phone, going out, or opening their bills.
I am fortunate I do all my banking online and have done away with statements and bills coming through my door, everything is electronically done, I would like to think I am contributing to helping save the planet with zero carbon footprint emissions.
Money Navigator Tool
Are you looking for money guidance, but don’t know where to look? Start with Money Navigator, giving you instant help based on your circumstances.
Remember if you can write down all your going in money as well as your going out you will have a clearer picture of what costs cuts you can make.
Sometimes people that have enough money to live on may worry about money worries just in case they have to break into their savings. With rising costs and people in the human hierarchy importance ladder who simply do not give a damn about your mental health, you have to start fighting for survival and researching different options and how to get over your obstacle.
- Your current situation may make you feel worried, anxious and nervous, or even depressed. You may have no motivation to face people let alone talk to them.
- Your current situation may make you more stricter with your spending to the extent that you may not want to spend anything at all even though you may have money in the bank you do not want to dig into your life savings. This can cause anxiety and depression.
- Your current situation may be the difference between putting food on the table because of people that do not care about your financial predicament and if you can actually afford a price increase. Small businesses should be more understanding and make massive increases to the tune of £80 as in the case of my landlord. (He will one day feel my wrath), he claims he has made repairs and has offset annual inspections that he is obliged to do onto the tenant. (I have so much ammunition on him he won’t know what has hot him).
- Some people such as myself may find it hard to concentrate on making important decisions or concentrate or stay focused and may not take in all the detailed information and may not be able to manage their money properly.
- Under Stress, people become forgetful and may not remember to do things.
There is an online tool provided by the NHS that can access you mental health especially if you are affected by financial difficulties NHS Money Worries tool. It does not take long to fill out in fact it only takes five minutes, which will then direct you to specific help based on your answers.
What if you feel everything has become too much and very overwhelming?
There is not one person on this planet that feels happy 24/7. Some may have very good days followed by very low days (Bipolar). Everyone feels low from time to time. Being able to identify the root of the problem is the first step to recovery. If one can pinpoint what is causing you to feel low and have your financial forecast in black and white in front of you (one needs to be ruthless with oneself) be as open and honest with your finances, which will pave a path tackling the problem.
If you cannot shake the persistent feeling of anxiety, worry, and depression off, you should seek medical advice from a health professional such as your pharmacist or GP. Sometimes making the first move and asking for help can be difficult and daunting that is why there are organizations that help you on the road to recovery. Mind has devised a tool called Find the Words, which will help you help you devise a plan of action and what you can say in the preparation of having a consultation with your GP, Nurse, or Pharmacist.
When it comes to financial difficulties the sooner you begin admit you have a problem, the sooner you can to tackle the problem and the easier it will be to take control. However it is understandable that some people may not be able to find the strength to deal with financial issues independantly and may find the whole ordeal overwhelming to the degree it may feel even impossible.
How to return to the drawing board and try and re-budget your finance?
- Write Down in a Book so you can return to it later all your expenses and all your income. You will see at a glance how you can possibly save some money or juggle your money around. This is a perfect opportunity to manage and budget your money. Give yourself a Petty Cash so you can dip into that rather than your savings.
- Do some research and find organizations that can help you with your finances
- Reach out to your friends, family, and healthcare professional if the constant worry about money is so overwhelming that you cannot function properly.
- Nominate someone you can trust to look after your mail for you, going as far as helping you budget and manage your expenses. Sometimes the thought of opening bills or statements is too much to bear.
- Contact creditors, banks, and utility companies at the first opportunity and explain your circumstances they may put your debt on hold. If you ignore them this will only make matters worse and the problem will not go away by itself, in fact, it may escalate to debt recovery where your initial debt might double with recovery fees. It is best to just get the bull by the horns and confront your creditors before they do.
- If you start to feel that life is unbearable and you cannot even face going to work, you must go to your GP to explain your ailments and ask to have a sick note. Contact your manager or HR department to let them know you are unwell. Some companies offer extra employee support, which is free and confidential.
- If you go to your GP or another health professional and explain your problem, not only will your mental state of mind be logged on their system they may be also able to guide you by providing a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form, which can help make assure creditors take your mental health problems into account. Only if you are in severe debt financial services may want to see written evidence of a mental health issue, but this is something that should only be discussed if you feel the situation has no way out and you are willing to share your personal data with these organizations. This is not mandatory and you will not be asked to provide medical evidence unless it goes to court.
- If you a shopping addict or feel that buying something to cheer you up is the solution, when in fact it will only make your finances worse, consider doing something that occupies your mind that does not include browsing the internet with the temptation to spend. Go to your local library and borrow some books that you will be inspired by. If you are arty start painting. Do things that will not cost you an arm and a leg. Download some e-books before turning off the internet for a month or so. Give yourself time to re-rejuvenate.
Visit Money and Mental Health Policy Institute website for a list of recommended tools you can use.
How to return to the drawing board and try and re-budget your finance?
Poor mental health may make not allow you to be focused and may hinder the decision you make, thus avoiding making them at all can cause a domino effect with consequences to one’s actions. When you are starting to feel you are able to tackle your problems you need to be assertive, stay focused and correct the problems you may have. Also, try to safeguard yourself from future issues which may arise, by putting a little away each month if at all possible.
Are there organisations I can try to get free debt help?
- I have been there when I had a nasty surprise when Norton renewed itself automatically approximately two months before the termination of the contract. I went about removing my card details from their system and every other company that I was not comfortable having my card details. This is the same for most online shopping sites and browsers often remember card details to make it easier and smoother to make purchases. If you feel at risk of making impulsive spending decisions you later regret, remove the auto-filled information from your browser settings.
- Consider cutting up your cards or have just one for essential shopping, but do away with credit cards at your first opportunity. If you are in debt with credit cards the banks and credit card issuers will be happy for you to offer them something rather than nothing at all. This will also save them time chasing you and they will get their money although albeit it may take them a little longer. Offer something that is reasonable and show them your expenditure report.
- Download this useful tool The Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) that was created by Mary Ellen Copeland and others who have lived experience of mental health issues themselves.
- Also if you have overspent and regret it, you can cancel or return items so you get the money back.
How to Deal with creditors?
If you have had poor mental health for some time it may be a combination of different things that have happened in your life. One of the reasons could be because you don’t have enough money to pay for the basics, such as food and rent or mortgage or you’re unable to pay your debts.
Although there are many places where you can get free financial help and information, only you know if you have enough money coming in or not to cover your bills.
A debt adviser can help to a certain degree and talk through your money worries and find ways for you to manage your debts, but they may not have all the answers. If you have been good at managing your money and all of a sudden someone throws an unexpected spanner in the works such as a rent increase of £150 for arguments sake, this will throw your budget straight out of the window.
Debt Advisers can suggest solutions you may not know about and can help even if you don’t think you have any spare money to deal with your debt.
A lot of people have felt stress when seeking debt advice; you’re not alone and it’s not a sign of weakness.
You can talk to debt advisers online, on the telephone or face-to-face – however, you feel most comfortable.
Get free debt advice here.
How to Deal with Creditors.
You should never be ashamed or embarrassed about talking about mental health to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness and in fact, speaking about is a sure way of finding the right help to dealing with it. Suffering in silence does not help you if you do not tell anyone how you are feeling. There are millions of people just like yourself in similar situations and if you can find the courage to speak out you have made the first steps to recovery.
If you do not tell anyone how you are feeling how are they supposed to know.
Creditors are human after all and even if they have never experienced stress, anxiety, and depression they may in fact know someone that has and they should be sympathetic towards you as long as you explain to them what you are going through.
Write it all down on a piece of paper or type it up, mentioning your mental state of mind, your disabilities and any medical help you may have. Do not leave any stone unturned.
Mention your incomings and outgoings so that they have a clear picture and may give you more time to pay off any arrears or debt you may have.
It is better to offer them something than nothing at all.
They will be happy to accept whatever you can offer them rather than taking you to court, which not only costs money it is a waste of resources that can be better spent elsewhere.
Creditors can be empathic and the definition of a creditor is someone you owe money to, such as a landlord, utility company, car finance company, your bank, building society, or lender (payday loans, store cards, etc).
People often feel talking about mental health that there is a stigma attached and the person you disclose this information to may think you are crazy. Having mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are normal experiences most people go through and experience at some point in their lives, from sitting your exams to having your first interview to feeling your job is not rewarding or you may be having relationship troubles. Everyone has experienced sadness, anxiety, and depression at some point in their lives.
When our parents and loved ones pass away we experience, sadness, grief, and depression.
Talking to their creditors about your poor mental wellbeing makes you a stronger person because you are brave enough to speak about it rather than shutting it out.
You can choose how much information you want to share and how it will be stored and used. You have control over your data.
Most importantly if you are feeling as if things have escalated out of control and you have nowhere to turn, do visit a health professional or GP asap and then contact your creditors in writing or appoint a friend or family member to do it on your behalf. You are not alone there are millions of people in the same boat as you.
Find out more about notice of correction on Mental Health and Money website.
What should you do if you have been unfairly treated?
Most organizations are empathetic providing you do give them the runaround. if you choose to ignore the past due letter and hope the problem will go away by itself you are very much mistaken and you will only infuriate your creditors. The sooner you make contact with them and the sooner you put all your incomings and outgoings on the table and a proposed payment plan the sooner they will give you extended time to pay. Remember they sooner prefer to have something than nothing at all and they certainly do not want to waste their precious time dragging it through courts. They will even cap any interest you may have as long as you make contact with them.
However if after you have disclosed your situation to the lender and they are being ruthless you can put in a letter of complaint and then go to an ombudsman who will act as a mediator. You also have the option of going to citizen advice and get free advice from volunteer solicitors or legal advice pro bono meaning they will not charge you until they win a case similar to (not win no fee).
The most important factor is you have to make contact physically or in writing and if you still feel you are not getting anywhere start pulling ranks so if the bank teller cannot help you ask for the bank manager and if the bank manager refuses to help go to an ombudsman.
In most cases as long as you offer your creditors something they will call off the wolves and will not pass your debt onto a debt collecting agency.
If you want to speak to a creditor in person it is wise to have someone with you as a witness and for moral support but the best way is to put it all in writing and do not leave anything out.
How to manage your expenditure whilst you’re in the hospital?
Sometimes the unexpected can happen so you should have a plan of action for a friend or family member to take over your day-to-day expenses. The best way is to set up a standing order or pay via creditors’ websites manually. Often setting up direct debits is a good idea but with this method, the dates transaction leave your account are fixed, whilst withstanding orders you have more control.
The best plan of action is to appoint someone as power of attorney and have it in writing that should you be unable to sort out your own finances and day-to-day routines like feeding the cat and watering the plants and putting any subscriptions on hold etc.
Obviously you need to be able to have someone you can trust.
However, if you are alone and have no family or friends, you could talk with your bank manager, you will be surprised what people they are in contact with and what resources and organizations they could put you in contact with.
On Rethink’s Mental Health and Money website, there is a full list of options and things you should think about, including how someone can help you pay bills, deal with benefits or talk to your bank or other service providers, such as your mobile phone, gas or electricity provider.
Always plan ahead should something happen like you being admitted into hospital suddenly. This will start a plan of action with the domino effect of the next person being notified to sort out your affairs.
If you are dependant on Government Benefits and Support you must notify the agencies because some benefits you will no longer be entitled to and this will avoid them overpayment, in which you guessed it, you would have to pay it all back. So it is best to let them know as soon as you can or get someone to do it on your behalf.
If you are admitted to hospital for a long stay you should know about the following:
- If you are getting Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Allowance, or Attendance Allowance, your benefit will stop.
- If someone gets Carer’s Allowance for you, their benefit will stop at the same time.
- You are able to continue to get Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks
- If you are getting Employment and Support Allowance it will continue to be paid but depending on which type you are getting, you may lose some premiums or housing costs
- Universal Credit will not usually be affected for six months
- You will need to continue paying your bills. Think about setting up a direct debit so it’s done automatically
If you get benefits, tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – or the Social Security Agency (SSA) if you are in Northern Ireland.
Tell your local authority if you get Housing Benefits or pay Council Tax because you may qualify for a reduction.
If you don’t tell the agency dealing with your benefits, they may continue paying you and you may end up owing money.
You may need someone to help you do some of these things. Read our guide Getting informal help to manage your money for more information.
Go to the Mental Health and Money website for more help you can get and things you need to do if you are in hospital.
What Benefits are there you can claim if you have poor mental health?
If your mental health condition persists or worsens or another disability is diagnosed, you may be entitled to help with certain benefits.
If you are over 16 and have a diagnosed mental health problem, you may be entitled to a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you need help with everyday tasks. This isn’t means-tested, so you may be able to get it whether or not you have an income or savings. However, they will first make you have a long interview and will assess you on the day. With the Coronavirus Pandemic Regulations and Restrictions, these assessments have been put on hold. Do not be disheartened if your claim has been denied, nearly all claims are rejected and it is up to you to appeal their decision.
If you can’t work for an extended length of time because of your illness and you’re not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (or it has run out), you might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit to help replace lost income. If you’re claiming a sickness or disability benefit, you will usually need to have a medical assessment as part of the claim process.
The Mental Health and Money Advice website has a full list of benefits you may be entitled to if you are suffering from mental health issues, or if you are a carer of someone who is struggling.
The charity Turn2us has an online calculator you can use to see what benefits you may be able to claim.
If someone you know is struggling with mental health and financial issues, how to help them?
As a friend or family member, you know the person you are worried about better than most. So you can spot changes in behavior, sometimes before they do, that might send out warning signals.
You may want to make an agreement with them that they let you know if they seem to be becoming unwell. You could make an action plan together, for example, you could look after their credit card or bill payments when they feel unwell or help them make a GP appointment.
Are you worried about someone you know being under too much stress? If so, the Samaritans website has a page on what to look out for if you are concerned that someone you love is harming themselves, having suicidal thoughts, and might be at risk of suicide.
Getting extra support for mental health
Mental health is complex and there can be many symptoms other than feeling low. If you (or someone you care for) needs support with mental health, these organizations can help:
When you feel like there is a constant grey cloud following you everywhere you go and no matter what you do and nothing seems to be working in your favour, you must step back and analyze the situation and see how you can tackle the problem or make changes to make your life more bearable.
Sometimes stress, anxiety and depression can make it difficult to see straight, making it difficult to focus and make important decisions.
I have suffered from clinical depression for many years and I find writing down my thoughts and helping others as I am doing now part of my therapy. I have other disabilities which you can read on my other site www.disabledentrepreneur.uk My disabilities are not a burden per se, but a superpower as I can inspire other people that your disabilities do not have to define you and you can adapt around them within your means.
I have learned what to avoid that may trigger my depression and my other disabilities and what can worsen them. I have a controlled environment that is not normal by any standard but it works for me.
The first step to getting help is to talk with your health professional such as your local GP.
It’s easy for someone to say “things will get better” but if they are not walking in your shoes they do not have a clue what you are going through and have no right to give you that advice.
Only you can make the changes and make things happen and for people to say “things will get better” are basically sugar coating the problem.
If you are to your eyeballs in debt no amount of words is going to help you. You need a plan of action and you need people that can help you, rather than people trying to put a band-aid on a gaping wound.
The only way you can get out of debt is to talk to a professional that can help. You can even try to consolidate your debts into one monthly affordable sum. You need to speak with your creditors that you have run into financial difficulties and if you are also suffering from depression you MUST also see a Doctor. To be prepared to make the changes, you must make the first step.
It’s also soul-destroying watching people live in fancy houses driving fancy cars whilst you are struggling to make ends meet.
The constant noise of people bragging how successful they are is all smoke and mirrors and you should not be interacting or viewing this.
If you are connected on Instagram with people and groups living luxury lifestyles, turn off your account or simply do not log in.
For the MPs that dictate to people on low incomes how much support they are prepared to give people to live on, it would be interesting to see if they could live on £98.48 tax credits per week for six months supporting a young adult in full-time education who have no way of supporting themselves.
By my calculations, £98.48 per week based on 40 hours of work is £2.46 per hour, which is less than the living wage. Now if you add other income this could equate to a further £1.65 per hour, which brings a total of £4.11 per hour which is less than the national living wage, and they wonder why people have mental health issues.
So for a small business owner, they would have to further earn more than £164.48 per week to live and make a profit. Which equates to £657.92 per month that a small business owner would need to find just to get by on a low income.
If a small business owner has bills to pay and has a very low income that is struggling to pay its business overheads how does the government expect people to live on £98.48 per week? Even with the extra income, a small business owner makes it only comes to £164.48 per week. How on earth are people supposed to support themselves?
I have a question if a young adult turns 19 years of age, do they eat less the older they are or use less toiletries, electricity, water, etc? My point being if a young adult is still in further education not claiming universal credit and is not working and is disabled should the carer for that young person get penalized £100.00 per week and be given less to live on.
These politicians need their heads banging together and get basic salaries, equating to the National Living Wage of £8.91 per hour and not a penny more. They are not small businesses that often are highly educated CEOs that can command large salaries. Yet MPs are civil servants and you do not need to have a degree to become one all they need is to pay £500 with their application and if they are voted in by the constituents (followers), they then get to train alongside other MPs with starting salaries of £30K which equates to £625 per week or £15,63 per hour based on a 40 hour week.
Yet these MP’s command extortionate wages, bonus’s and expenses that come out of the taxpayers money, rather than helping people that genuinely need help.
I think it is bloody disgusting that politicians dictate how much a person should live on without calculating the cost of food and overheads expecting the average person on a low income to live on basic breadcrumbs that they begrudgingly give out.
They should try to live at least 6 months on those payouts and actually see how the other half live.
How about they swap their swanky homes for a person in a council house for at least 12 months, they would soon be singing a different tune.
Regardless of how much money I personally make and even if I could afford a house like the Real Housewives in Beverly Hills which I am watching on Netflix, I would never buy a house to flaunt my riches and make the less fortunate people feel envious of me. I would however live in a modest house that would not make me look like a privileged snob and I would use my money to help people less fortunate than me. I currently live in privately rented accommodation.
I challenge any politician to live on the income some of the small business owners live on just to be able to interview them 12 months later.
Similar to the film with Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd ‘Trading Places it would be interesting to see a MP live on the money the government payout to small business owners and swap places with them for a year.
I apologize if I offend anyone reading this with my language but some people really are trying to make something of themselves and do not want to get into debt by getting loans/grants and simply need some help financially or help with getting more leads for free.
Some people may be disabled and may not be able to work in a normal working environment and choose self employment as one of their options other than being on the dole for the rest of their lives.
I have not really spoken with any small business owners on the subject but I am sure there are plenty of lone parents out there that support young adults whilst they are in college whilst juggling a small business and decreased revenue because of the ‘Coronavirus Pandemic’.
There Are Many Dr Evil’s In This World, Disguised!
It is society’s fault and a contributing factor that people suffer from depression!
For the landlords that increase your rent and expect you to find the money within a month are just plain greedy and ruthless without empathy, they should increase the rent by the Bank of England Rate of Inflation which is 2.5 %, NOT 14% as in my case.
My landlord said due to the fact his insurance has gone up because of the pandemic and the annual electricity check and extra alarms fitted, he has had to increase the rent by £960 per annum. I also have business insurance and my insurance has NOT gone up. He thinks I am stupid.
I will ride the wave and when I am finished I will create my own tsunami.
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