It’s enough to keep you up at night. When your finances are getting seriously tight, it can be a troubling time to say the least. You hardly get the rest that you need because you spend all of your free time worrying about how you’re going to make ends meet. It’s a situation that many of us find ourselves in time and time again, but it has to stop.
Personal finances have got to be one of the biggest modern-day stressors and it’s plain to see why. When things get tight, it can feel as though it affects your entire life. The more you stress yourself about this issue and the mounting bills, the harder it can be to solve the problem. It’s a vicious cycle that continues to get worse the more it goes on.
While we’re all quite aware that worrying about finances can be hard, it may be a whole load worse than any of us think. You may not have realised it before now, but this issue can actually have a direct impact on your day to day mental health. In fact, recent research has found a striking link between a whole array of mental health problems and (you guessed it!) money.
According to a the study published in the Community Mental Health Journal, anxiety levels and alcohol dependency levels in university students go up and up the more someone has financial difficulties. There was also an undeniable link between people’s money troubles and their stress and depression symptoms. These results suggest that the more someone has to worry about their finances, the worse the impact is on their mental health.
“Coming to university can be a stressful and daunting time for young people and finances can cause a lot of worry,” explained Dr Thomas Richardson, who led the study. “We might not be able to change how much debt students are in but we can work with them to help them manage their finances and worries about money in order to mitigate the impact of these worries on mental health.”
As if that’s not bad enough, the study also found that people who got themselves into financial difficulty, found it hard to get out of the cycle. The worse their money problems became, the more they struggled to deal with the onset of mental problems and, indeed, the finances themselves.
“The findings suggest a vicious cycle whereby anxiety and problem drinking exacerbate financial difficulties, which then go on to increase anxiety and alcohol intake. Interventions which tackle both difficulties at the same time are therefore most likely to be effective.”
To put that in simple terms, the only real way to make sure that you deal with the problem, is to learn how to manage debts and any mental problems that they have caused. So, it’s not just about getting better with your finances; it’s about ensuring that you can cope with day to day life. Getting the help that you need here really is essential.
So, what should you do when your money troubles get the better of you? Well, sadly, there’s not one magic solution to make all your problems go away. However, there is support out there that may be just what you need. As Richardson explained, it’s about getting help on both a financial and mental level. That may sound like a lot to take on board right now, but here is some useful information that may just help you along the way.
Not knowing where to turn when you’re in financial trouble is the worst problem of all. You may well feel as though you’re alone here, but you’re not. There are actually plenty of places you can get what you need most right now — advice, help, and support. Here are some of the places you may well want to try first:
The fact of the matter is that many of us just don’t understand how finances work. There was no class on personal finance at school and the whole thing can seem like a bit of a grey area. If you want some free advice, heading to Citizens Advice might be the way forward for you. It’s a place where you can get the help you need without anyone trying to sell you anything or, worse, pressuring you to take out a loan.
You can either head to the site itself, where you can find a whole load of useful information about debts, personal finances, and loans, or you can book an appointment. Booking a slot online is super easy and only takes a few minutes. Oh, and you can also get some help from people over the phone. It couldn’t be easier. Basically, if you need some help, this could easily be your first port of call.
Book an appointment: Citizens Advice
The charity, Step Change, offers an easy three-step Debt Remedy plan. While it may be hard to tell someone about your financial problems, this whole thing can be done online. That means that you don’t need to sit and pour your heart out to a complete stranger. Phew. What’s more, it takes just a couple of minutes to fill in the form and get the help that you need right away.
First of all, you just need to fill in the form and explain what your money situation is like. This includes everything from how much you spend to what your debts are. It might seem a little intrusive, but it’s crucial that you are as honest as possible at this point. Next, it’s time to wait. The Debt Remedy professionals will create an action plan with you that includes a budget. All you have to do is follow their advice to make your way toward being debt free as soon as possible. What’s more, they have live chat and phone lines you can call to get up to date information. Genius.
Check it out: Debt Remedy
Similar to the Debt Remedy system, there’s My Money Steps online. This one is run by the National Debtline and should give you helpful advice that will help you get yourself debt-free. Again, you will need to fill out a form online that should take you no longer than just 20 minutes. Once you’re done, a team of experts will design an action plan that can help you along the way to financial freedom.
Since the advice is tailored to you (rather than just generic tips and tricks), you should find that this service is seriously helpful. Remember, you don’t need to go overboard when it comes to your finances — it’s not about stripping back completely, but working out a plan that works for you and your family. My Money Steps can help you do just that. They offer free, confidential advice that you really can trust.
Check it out: My Money Steps
Struggling with alcohol? As the study showed, often the stress of financial troubles can lead to an alcohol dependency issue. If you think that you (or, of course, someone close to you) may have a problem, it’s time to do something about it. Luckily, Drinkaware has a whole lot of support and information that just might help you along the way.
It’s well worth taking a look online and seeing what kind of help is out there. Often enough, when people have an addiction problem, they don’t reach out. They assume that there is no help there for them should they need it. That is just not true. In reality, there are loads of charities and organisations that are set up with the sole purpose of helping people recover from addictions. Remember, the sooner you get some support, the easier your recovery will be in the long run.
Check it out: Drinkaware
If you’re struggling with mental health issues – whether it’s feelings of anxiety and depression or just a general low mood – it’s worth getting some support. Remember, there’s nothing weak about admitting that you need help. It actually takes a whole load of strength to reach out and it’s one of the best possible things that you can do for your own mental health! So, where should you start?
Well, the Samaritans might just be a good place. The 24/7 hotline will get you straight through to volunteers who can help. You can also get advice via email which may be better if you’re not ready to talk directly to someone. Either way, it’s the reaching out that counts. If you find that you have continuous problems, talk to your doctor. They should be able to advise you on what to do next.
Get in touch: Samaritans