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Are money problems getting you down?

Sep 6, 2017 | News

Are money problems getting you down?

By Fran Bainbridge, Talking Money

If you’re finding money problems are making it hard to face the day, you’re not alone.  The good news is that more people, organisations and leaders are recognising how money problems can affect your mental health.  The most common barriers we see at Talking Money are the barriers created by expectations, shame and pride.  It can feel incredibly embarrassing if you find yourself in financial dire straits and it may feel that you have let people down.  In fact, if you are supporting people financially they are probably the last people you would want to speak to and they might not mean to be, but are the ones who make you feel the most pressure.  It can be a variety of problems that get you into debt, from the boiler needing fixing, then the car goes, illness to hikes in bills.  Then when you’re panicked, that is exactly when you might make a bad decision because you won’t be thinking clearly.

There are a few things you should do. First, you must talk to someone.  Make this the right someone, a person who is safe and won’t disclose your problems or guilt trip you.  When a problem like debt becomes a mental health problem, part of the issue might be simply because you have tried to shoulder the burden on your own, not wanting to worry others.  This might help in the short term but will not help anyone in the long run.  If you are struggling with anxiety, worry or depression from you problems it might be worth speaking to a counsellor.  Have you tried Bristol Mind or Rethink Mental Illness? They could help lift off some of the pressure that anxiety or depression has put on you.  Once you have eased the worry slightly, you then need to take the second step…

Get some money advice! There are many services that provide free, legal and independent advice.  If you are not sure who is available, have a look at the 7 money advice agencies on the Money Advice West website (www.moneyadvicewest.org.uk) or get in touch with an organisation like Christians Against Poverty.  Being controlled by fear is not right or fair and we can help! In nearly all cases there is something that can be done and while the debt or money problem might be scary, the letters and difficult messages you get from debtors can be dealt with together.

Knowledge is power! As well as mapping out your problems with organisations like those I have mentioned, an empowering coping tool is to increase your knowledge about your problem.  This can stop those pesky fears making a situation bigger than it is because you can understand what is really happening.  It can also inform you of what your rights are or what they should be, so you can speak more confidently.  Have a look at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute website for more information.  Talking Money are also hosting an event 27 September called ‘When debt becomes life or death’, where we intend to highlight the problem of debt and mental health issues and seek solutions.  The event is free but you must register your interest on the Eventbrite page.

For more information or advice about money problems, contact Talking Money via the website www.talkingmoney.org.uk or call us on 0117 954 3990.

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