Your mental health can be one of the first thing to suffer when you experience any sort of financial difficulties. It could be unexpected expenses, such as, the washing machine breaking or forgetting that an annual bill is due. It could be just generally worrying about how you can pay for all the things you need – a sense of overwhelm can be enough to trigger a negative mental health experience.
You may not think it’s affecting your mental health but if you’re lying awake in the middle of the night, then it definitely is.
It’s something we at MABS recognise in a lot of our clients; and when we ask them which bill that’s got them awake at 4am, they look at us and ask, “how did you know?”. The answer is easy, we know because we see it all the time.
So, in this blog, we want to help you identify if you are suffering from financial stress and show you what steps you can take to help get yourself back on track.
Recognising the signs
Stress shows itself in a variety of ways but most commonly in these ways:
- Physical signs: headaches, fatigue, and disrupted sleep patterns.
- Emotional signs: frequent anger and irritability, inability to relax, feelings of shame and embarrassment, and depression.
Barriers to managing your financial stress
Feeling over-stressed can make it difficult to take steps to deal with the financial problems. Here are some of the issues that can cause someone to do nothing:
- Seeing the problem as too big to solve.
- Trying to solve all the problems at once.
- Not sharing the problem or not seeking advice.
- Blaming others for our situation.
- Letting stress affect our judgement.
- Using drugs or alcohol as substitutes for solving the problems.
- Having a negative outlook.
Managing your financial stress
While it’s unrealistic to think we can eliminate stress altogether, there are ways to reduce the impact.
- Do something about one small piece of a bigger problem, it can be as simple as making a list.
- Ask for help from family or friends and begin to talk about the situation. Take one step at a time – and remember, it’s good to talk.
- Look after your health. Make sure you’re eating properly and use exercise to reduce symptoms of stress.
Where can I get additional support?
MABS offers free help and advice on all kinds of debt, from mortgage to regulated moneylender debt., The advice is confidential, independent and non-judgmental. MABS has a tried-and-tested approach for managing debt and for helping to reduce stress. Take the first step, you can call or WhatsApp a MABS adviser to get started and feel the weight begin to lift.
To find out about the mental health services and supports available in your area, call the YourMentalHealth information line on Freephone 1800 111 888. You can also send a text to 50808 to get support and information about services.
Some other supports that can help:
Remember, we know from experience how easy it can be to feel stressed about your finances. We also know that asking for help can be the start of a journey towards taking control.
Creditors are generally more responsive and understanding if you make contact early, but even if you are in arrears, creditors will usually try to work with you, if you make contact with them. MABS is here to help – you’re not alone.
If you have a query for one of our advisers or are struggling with your debts, you can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.