Money & Mental Health Tips
Mental health can affect the way you deal with money
These are some common ways your mental health can affect the way you deal with money
if you're feeling low or depressed, you may lack motivation to manage your finances. It might not feel worth trying
spending may give you a brief high, so you might overspend to feel better
if your mental health affects your ability to work or study, this might reduce your income
you might avoid doing things to stay on top of your money, like opening bills or checking your bank account. You might try to avoid thinking about money completely
having a mental health problem might affect your insurance, so you end up paying more
Money problems can affect your mental health
These are some common ways money can affect your mental health such as
certain situations might trigger feelings of anxiety and panic, like opening envelopes or attending a benefits assessment
worrying about money can lead to sleep problems
you might not be able to afford the things you need to stay well. This might be housing, food, water, heating, or treatments like medication and therapy
money problems can affect your social life and relationships. You might feel lonely or isolated, or like you can’t afford to do the things you want to
Feelings associated with money
Thinking about money can be emotional, and you might have different feelings about money. These are some common feelings you might have
you might feel guilty for spending money, even if you know you can afford it. Or, you might feel guilty for seeking support, even if you know you need it
you might be afraid of looking at your bank balance or speaking to the bank
you might feel ashamed for needing support. It’s important to remember that everyone has the right to feel well, and the right to essentials like food and housing. Getting financial support is a good way of making sure you have the things you need
you might feel stressed if you’re under a lot of pressure to support yourself and others.
you might be struggling to navigate the benefits system may feel stressful.
you might feel tired or worn down, especially if you’ve been struggling with money problems for a long time.
if you’ve experienced financial abuse in the past, this might affect how you feel about money now
Getting to know the feelings and emotions you have around money might help you to spot patterns in your behaviour and feel more in control.
Get to know your money and mood patterns
You might find it helpful to take some time to think about how you feel about money and why.
For example, if you've struggled with money in the past or didn’t have much money growing up, this might affect the way you feel about money now. You could try answering these questions
are there certain times when you’re more likely to spend money?
are there certain times when you’re more likely to save money?
how does it feel when you spend money?
do you feel differently when you’re spending and saving?
what are the emotions and feelings you think of, when you think about money?
which aspects of dealing with money make your mental health worse? For example, it could be things like attending appointments, opening envelopes, confrontation, or being misunderstood.
It might help to keep a diary of your spending and your mood, to record what you spend and why. You could record how you were feeling before and afterwards too. Once you’ve done this, you might start to feel like you understand your habits and patterns around money a bit more. Knowing these could help you plan ahead for difficult times.
Overspending when you're unwell
When you’re unwell, you might spend more money than you want to, or more than you can afford.
Overspending can happen for different reasons, such as:
you might spend to make yourself feel better - ome people describe this as feeling like a temporary high
if you experience symptoms like mania or hypomania, you might spend more money or make impulsive financial decisions
you might have an addiction or dependency which makes you spend money
Here are some tips that might stop you from overspending:
tell someone you trust about the warning signs you might be overspending, or signs you’re struggling with your mental health
give your cards to someone you trust or put them somewhere difficult to access
don't save your card details into websites
delete apps where you usually overspend, or apps which encourage you to spend
if you get tempted by adverts on social media, limit how much time you spend on it
find ways to delay purchasing such as telling yourself, "I will buy this tomorrow if I still feel like it then”
distract yourself with something else that makes you feel good
consider telling your bank that you have a mental health problem as they may be able to add a note to your file to look out for unusual spending
some people find it helpful to avoid credit cards completely