Debt and mental health can be very closely linked, and as Christmas is almost upon us, money can become a huge stressor for people. Our Peer Trainer and blogger Debbie tells us how people suffering from mental health challenges can be affected by debt, she gives some tips on how to overcome and challenge debt, and useful ways you can keep your budget low this Christmas.
At this time of year it is difficult not to think about finances. Add to that struggles with your mental health and it can become a very stressful period. One in two adults with debt also has a mental health diagnosis and one in four people with mental health issues are also in debt (RCPSYCH). Scary statistics I’m sure you’ll agree.
With Christmas approaching, if you are struggling with the thought of buying presents and extra food and drink, this is only going to increase your anxiety. Having difficulties with your mental health makes managing money harder and worries about finances impact mental health issues. It is a vicious cycle.
One reason for this could be that depression affects functions such as working memory, focus and the ability to plan and make decisions. Routine activities can become hard to manage so budgeting can be a nightmare. Add to that a lack of motivation and concentration with low energy levels and the fire is well and truly fuelled. 95% of sufferers of depression report spending more when they are unwell; those few minutes of lifted mood can make it all seem worthwhile (Love money).
However, there is a whole host of advice and help available.
The charity, Mind, has some great advice and one tip that leapt out at me was to “Keep a diary of your spending. Try and record what you spend and why. Keep a record of your mood too, as this could help you work out triggers and patterns.” This is really useful to remember.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists advice this:
D - ON’T IGNORE YOUR DEBT IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE.
E - XPLAIN YOUR PROBLEMS TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST.
B - E SURE TO GET INDEPENDENT ADVICE.
T - AKE CONTROL OF YOUR MONEY AND SPENDING.
A useful idea this time of the year is to create handmade gifts to give as Christmas presents. There are so many ideas to choose, from food and drink to cuddly toys and jewellery. Websites are full of options. Click here to see what I found really useful. If you are the creative type think about making your own cards. Sending someone you care about a gift that you’ve spent time creating shows a great deal of thought. Not only does this help with saving money, it could also help improve your mood by boosting confidence and making you feel appreciated.
The first step really is to talk to someone. This may be difficult and make you feel anxious so getting some support from a friend might be worthwhile. There is so much help available and numerous ways of really making a difference to your life.
Some useful links include:
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