Mental Health and Financial Well-Being

Mabel McLean
September 6, 2022
Mental Health and Financial Well-Being

Link between Mental Health and Money Problems

We’re three quarters of the way through 2022, this year has certainly come with a few challenges. 

The energy cap rises in the UK have been a driving factor to the rise in inflation to a 40-year high.  Further afield, the conflict in Ukraine rages on as does the Palestine conflict (54 years and counting).  Understandably all of the news can have a negative impact on our mental health.   

It was announced on the 18th May that inflation in the UK had reached a 40 year high of 9%.  This has been mainly down to the rising energy costs.  We are all feeling the pinch as our weekly grocery shop gets more expensive.  Filling up the car makes you wince.  Or you’re watching the thermostat like a hawk.  

For those who are on or below the poverty line it is much worse.  With little to no expendable income the worries of how to feed yourself and family as well as keep them warm becomes an impossible task.  

Mabel got chatting with Kelly Forrest  over at Forrest Training around ways to protect our mental health during these uneasy times.  Mabel met Kelly when she attended a first aid training course but they’d both bumped into each other before that.  On top of the First Aid training, Team MFS also completed the Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace course with Kevin Forrest. The course offers invaluable insight into how the workplace can affect our mental wellbeing and how as managers and leaders we can all do better.

Kelly Forrest

Kelly is a qualified nurse (2008) and began working within employability and social care in 2010.  Providing training to employers and individuals on programme’s designed to support individuals with disabilities into the workplace.  With over 12 years of experience delivering face to face training, to a diverse demographic, Kelly enjoys working with companies to find solutions that meet their needs and developing innovative and bespoke courses where they don’t already exist.

Our mental health is crucial to our overall well-being.  The financial burdens and money worries we are experiencing can manifest themselves in many ways.  Kelly pointed out we can experience the following:

  • Feeling anxious or panicked when receiving bills
  • Struggling to sleep due to worry
  • Feeling isolated or lonely because you can't afford to attend the same amount of social occasions
  • Pressure to spend money for special occasions, to treat a loved one, or to go dating.

We can often feel guilty for spending money, whether it’s a coffee or that particular set of golf clubs, we tell ourselves that we can spend because we’ve been working lots/we haven’t spent in ages etc.  The need to justify spending is laden with emotional guilt and whether you spend or not, you end up feeling rather low.   There is also societal pressure at times to “keep up”, in particular if you have children.  With the schools returning in Aberdeen City and Shire, it’s worthwhile to remember that you are no lesser a parent for purchasing preloved items to help with budgets.  It might also be an opportunity to chat to your children about money matters and start their financial education.  

One of the most common reasons for relationships breaking down is financial reasons.  Being alone, and financially independent can bring with it a lot of stress. especially if you are concerned about job security, redundancy, or in the last couple of years a reduction in pay due to furlough.  Kelly strongly advocates for mental health and shared some of her advice.

Firstly acknowledging /recognising you need help to manage your money.

It is not a weakness to ask for help.  The first step is the hardest and to acknowledge you need help is that step.  Managing your money isn’t as easy as some people would make it out to be.  Especially coming out of a pandemic where furlough has happened or redundancy.  On top of that the daily cost of living (heating your home, using your car and feeding yourself and others who rely on you) is increasing exponentially. 

  • look for 'sources of support’ - this can be structured through professional lines or informally by asking friends and families.  
  • Don't avoid the issue.

Techniques you can use to keep your mental health from worsening if you are stressed or worried about money:

  • Rest
  • Write things down. sometimes things can feel big and hard to manage in our heads. If we write them down it can often be much smaller and manageable. Writing down a list of Income and outgoings can help you put together a budget.
  • Exercise - this can be anything from a gentle walk to climbing a munro.  Go with what your body can manage.  Walking for 30 minutes seems a lot but you break that down to two 15 min walks then it’s more manageable. 
  • Journaling - keep a notepad by your bed or in your bag - so when your mind is racing, or your feeling Stressed - write it down and come back to it. Allocate time each day to look at your journal, but limit it to 30 minutes - don't dwell.

Secondly look for sources of support.

Support can be from your friends and family but it can also be much more structured.  There are charities which specialize in mental health and financial matters.  Sometimes just talking about it really helps.  And if talking is too much there are also online forums where people can vent in a safe space.  

We’ve listed a few to help you get started. 

Mabel is well aware of the strong link between one’s mental health and financial well-being.  

“For me growing up, money was badly managed in our household.  As a child and then a teenager I witnessed the repossession of two of our family homes.  It’s why the conversation with Kelly has resonated so hard with me.  Things can spiral out of control and now more than ever as we enter a ‘humanitarian crisis’ as described by our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on the radio today.”

There are steps you can take to remain in control, some of which are already mentioned by Kelly. 

  • Know your outgoings and incomings. Don’t shy away from looking at your finances.  
  • Speak to a professional either about your mental health or your finances. There is never a silly question.  Should the professional judge you negatively, then you find a professional who knows what they’re doing.  
  • The cost of living will continue to rise but that doesn’t mean you lose control.  Read up on ways to save energy, lower your food costs, driving economically to reduce your fuel consumption and more.  
  • When cutting back don’t go for easy options e.g getting rid of your life insurance, critical illness etc.  Speak with your Protection Advisor about ways to reduce the monthly premium.  Leaving yourself without any such insurances could prove to be much more costly. 

All of our advisors at McLean Financials will listen without judgement and strive to find a solution that works for you.  Team MFS work for our clients. 

Kelly and Mabel hope some of these resources are helpful.  Please do bear in mind that, right now in the UK,  the majority of people are feeling the financial pinch.  But you are not alone and there are sources of help online and locally.  

We work with some of the UK’s biggest and best mortgage lenders.

Talk to us about a mortgage today.