Financial stress is a heavy burden to bear. 

Whether you’ve been affected financially by Covid-19 or another circumstance, don’t lose hope. That feeling of constant dread won’t stay forever. There are resources available to help you deal with money worries. 

In this blog, we direct you to the best sources of support available both online and over the phone. Get the help you need to feel more in control of your mental and financial health. 


Help to ease financial stress and anxiety 

The first step to financial recovery is dealing with the emotional fallout. Because stress and anxiety can lead to a vicious circle where, as your mental health declines, it becomes harder to manage your finances (you can read more on this in our blog: How Financial Problems Affect Your Mental Health). 

If you can get to a place where you feel less stressed and anxious about money, you’re in a stronger position to make well-informed, sensible decisions that can get you out of hot water.

Below we share free sources of support you can access now. We also direct you to more long-term support options, some of which are free and some that require a small fee.


1. Mind 

The mental health charity, Mind, has an entire section on its website dedicated to money and mental health. Learn how money and mental health are connected and understand your mood patterns. Also, equip yourself with the tools and knowledge needed to manage anxiety and stress around your finances. 

These tips in particular are golden:

1.    Ask someone you trust to open your letters and bills for you (they can let you know which of them are important)

2.    If you’d prefer not to call or visit your financial service provider, consider using online banking and web chat services

3.    Ask your GP if they can give you a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF). This can help make sure that creditors take your mental health problems into account when corresponding with you 

4.    Consider letting your financial service provider know that you have a mental health problem. Disclosing this information might trigger your bank to adapt their procedures (for example, how they contact you)

There’s also the option to engage with Mind’s services, such as one-to-one counselling or peer-to-peer support. To do this, you’ll need to visit your local Mind website (for example, Manchester Mind). Please note that Mind usually charges a small fee for these services and they aren’t always available due to high demand.

Similar charities include Rethink Mental Illness, SANE, Mental Health Foundation and Time To Change.  


2. NHS 

Like Mind, the NHS has a page on coping with money worries. On this page, you can find actionable insights to help you deal with financial stress immediately, such as:

1.    Ways to stay active physically and socially 
2.    Avoiding damaging behaviours, such as online shopping and alcohol abuse
3.    Sticking to your daily routine, especially when it comes to eating 

The page also features links to advice on how to deal with debt, including the following helplines:

●    Money Advice Service, or call 0800 138 7777 from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
●    National Debtline, or call 0808 808 4000 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
●    Step Change Debt Charity, or call 0800 138 1111 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Critically, the NHS is there for you if you need urgent help. If life is becoming very difficult or you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you should seek help immediately. 

Your first point of call is your GP. You can book an appointment with them and they can refer you to psychological therapy services. Or you could refer yourself directly to psychological therapies services near you. 

If you can’t wait for a GP appointment, you should call 111 (the NHS’s urgent care helpline). 

You can also contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

If you’d prefer to text over speaking to someone on the phone, you can Text Shout to 85258 for free crisis support. It is available 24/7. Visit the Shout website for more information. 


3. Mental Health & Money Advice 

The Mental Health & Money Advice website is designed specifically for people struggling with financial stress and anxiety. It covers how financial difficulties lead to poor mental health, in addition to lots of other helpful resources, including:

●    Mental health and money advice for COVID-19 outbreak 
●    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) guide 
●    Information on welfare benefits
●    Tips on managing your money if you have a mental health problem
●    Universal credit mental health guide 
●    Writing off debt because of your mental health 

If you want to speak to someone directly about your mental health and money worries, visit this page for a list of contacts. 

Mental Health & Money Advice also offers tools to help you manage your money better, including a Savings Calculator, a Budget Planner and a Universal Credit Money Manager

 

4. The Money Saving Expert 

While The Money Saving Expert isn’t created specifically for people struggling with their mental health, they have created this guide: Mental Health and Debt 2020. It is free to download and has been created with support from the mental health charities Mind, Rethink, CAPUK and others. 

It covers:

●    How to handle debts when you’re unwell
●    How to work with banks when you have a mental health problem
●    Sources for free debt counselling
●    Specific tips for bipolar disorder or depression sufferers
●    When to declare a condition
●    Approaches to treat mental distress
●    How friends, family and carers can help

The Money Saving Expert also has advice on paying your mortgage, rent or other bills during the pandemic. Plus, its Coronavirus Universal Credit & Benefits guide shows you what benefits you might be able to claim.

 
Support for GMBCU Members 

Are you a GMBCU member? Has the pandemic affected your finances?

We can help. We will always try to assist GMBCU members who are struggling financially because of the pandemic’s or any other matter.  

If you're concerned about your financial situation, please get in touch as soon as you can. Together we’ll find a solution that gives you the right level of financial support. You can email us at info@gmb.org.uk or contact us via our website