According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. That’s 25% of the population dealing with mental health challenges, and often facing them alone.
Over recent years, the link between money and mental health has become increasingly clear to see. Millions of people find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of money worries and mental health concerns, with each aggravating the other. Being stuck in this cycle can make the burden of financial troubles weigh heavy. That’s why at The Big Issue, we’re supporting Time to Talk Day 2022. Talking about our mental health can help support not only ourselves, but those around us too.
Starting the conversation
Worrying about money can be lonely and lots of challenges can feel out of our control. For this reason, it’s important to try and take control of the situation wherever possible. Frequently, the first step in the journey is acknowledging the situation you find yourself in. Once you acknowledge the situation, you can reach out to someone for support. This can be a friend, family member or a professional who has experience in dealing with mental health concerns or debt worries.
Juulia Kadlstedt, a BACP Accredited Counsellor working with anxiety, regularly works with clients struggling with the stress and pressure of their circumstances. “When a crisis like the rising cost of living hits us, we can easily get swept up in the stress and pressure of our circumstances. We can use the acronym F.A.C.E to help us get grounded,” says Juulia. “Focus on what is in your control, Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings about the situation, Connect with your support system, and Engage with a breathing exercise”.
Community can be invaluable if you find yourself stressed about money, as it can be comforting to speak to others who are in a similar situation. There are a number of online communities where individuals share their experiences and concerns, as well as coping mechanisms, including the StepChange Facebook community and MoneySavingExpert. Communities are an important reminder that you are not alone, whatever your circumstances.
Facing the facts
For many people dealing with mental health problems as a result of money issues, one of the hardest things to figure out is where to start. Overwhelm can lead to action paralysis, and poor mental health can make it difficult to think clearly about the best steps to take or where to turn for help. The result of overwhelm can end up being avoidance. Although in the short term avoiding your money worries can give a sense of relief, the issues will not go away and eventually, you will be forced to confront them. In the case of debt in particular, avoiding bills and repayments can wind up costing you more money and putting you under even more stress.