Money problems can have a really negative impact on your mental health. Similarly, when you’re feeling down it can become much harder to manage your finances. According to research, one in four people with mental health issues are also in debt, and a lot of people are affected by debt. There is support available, both in terms of advice and benefits, to help you manage your money and avoid getting into debt. The important thing to remember is that no problem is too big to be solved, but the sooner you start working on it the better.
One of the first places you might want to visit is the Mental Health and Money Advice website, which is packed with information on money, debt and benefits.
If you’d like to get a clearer picture of how things are going it might be worth doing a money health check. Once you finish the check you’ll be given tailored advice about what to do next, based on your answers.
There are also specific services who can help you with money, benefits and debt.
Managing your money
Managing your money can be a daunting task, so one of the first things you can do is sit down with friends or family, talk through next steps, and look at setting up a budget. A budget is a really great way to help you make sense of the money that you receive and spend. It’ll make you less likely to end up in debt or get caught out by unexpected costs, and in a better position to save. You’ll need to look at things like:
Living costs, like food and toiletries
Your household bills, like council tax, gas and electricity
Any other bills, like insurance, or credit cards bills
What you spend regularly on family and friends (it might even be worth looking at a separate Christmas budget)
What you spend on yourself, like holidays and eating out.
Check out Money Advice Service and the Citizens Advice Bureau for more ideas on budgeting.
You can find out more about specific support in Sheffield by searching the support section of this website.
If you’re living with a mental health condition, or if your money problems are having a negative impact on your wellbeing, you may be able to claim benefits to help support you. If you’re already claiming benefits it may still be worth getting to grips with the current system, as the rules and types of benefits are subject to change. If you care for someone with a mental health condition full time you may be entitled to carers’ allowance.
To find out what you’re entitled to visit the gov.uk website, which lists a few different benefits calculators.
Check out the Mental Health and Money advice website where there’s lots of information on claiming benefits. If you want to speak to someone one on one you can also visit your local CAB.
The government is in the process of introducing Universal Credit, which is expected to be rolled out across the country by November. It may be worth looking into what you’re entitled to before this date. Good Things Foundation also offer a how-to guide on Universal Credit. If you have any questions about Universal Credit you can speak to the CAB, or read more about it on the gov.uk website.
Debt can be incredibly stressful, and have a really big impact on your mental health. But there’s always something that can be done. Take everything one step at a time, and check out the Mental Health and Money website for more information, as well as this PDF on mental health and debt.
If you have a debt you can’t pay there are a number of options which you can look into, but it helps to get some advice and support. National Debt Line and Step Change both offer free advice and support.
There are also local organisations who might be able to help, have a look by searching the support section of this website.