Money. When you have enough you don’t think about it, but when things are tight it can be a real weight on your shoulders. Worrying if you can afford the things you need or want can lead to stress and anxiety, and can impact other areas of your life, too. But remember: it’s totally normal to struggle when you have money issues. And by taking care of your mental health, you can start to tackle the issue – and vice versa. We asked psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey for her top tips.
Trying to find work, planning how you’re going to afford university, paying rent on your first flat – these moments can be scary if you feel like you don’t have enough cash. And your money situation – or your family’s – can be hard to talk about, particularly if things are tight. “These worries can escalate quickly,” says Elizabeth, “so the sooner you share your concerns, the easier the problem is to tackle.” Your best mate will probably be your first port of call, but if they aren’t as clued-up as you hope, talk to your parents or another adult you trust. There’s plenty of support and advice online, too – from National Debt Advice to National Debtline, Citizens Advice and Step Change. All are run by understanding, financially savvy teams who can help make that problem smaller by acknowledging it and helping you make a plan.
“There can be a lot of status and stigma about your financial position, especially among your friends,” says Elizabeth. The most important thing to remember, she says, is that no-one’s financial journey is the same. It might seem like money is all that matters – particularly in your friendship group and especially on social media – but you never know what’s really going on in other people’s worlds. Focus on yourself.
Check out the accompanying video for this article and discover the five things you need to know about money and mental health.