With talking about money such a taboo, financial advisers can help ease the burden of stress
"Mental health and money troubles share a close link," said Quilter corporate affairs director Jane Goodland during Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW).
Campaigns like MHAW play an important role in tackling stigma around mental health, however people are also reluctant to talk about money, which means that those suffering from stress due to debt or other financial worries often try to deal with their problems on their own.
"It is often said that money alone does cannot give you happiness, and that is certainly true," she said. "But money can definitely be a source of unhappiness and potentially contribute to mental health challenges for those that find themselves in financial difficulty."
With figures from the Money and Mental Policy Institute showing that nearly half (46%) of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem and 86% saying that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse, Goodland has argued that financial advice offers a route towards reducing poor mental health.
"Giving people an opportunity to talk about their financial issues can often be the first step to resolving a problem," she said. "If you're worried about your finances and how it could impact your wellbeing and mental health, there are plenty of options."
People struggling with debt can look to government-backed services such as The Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service, which are free to use, as well as charities like StepChange or Citizens Advice. "Ultimately, the best way to get peace of mind and reassurance that your finances are in order and working for you is to see a financial adviser to get a complete financial plan to meet your own individual needs," added Goodland.
"Financial strain can be a big burden for people to carry and is not easily fixed. But whatever the scale of your financial wherewithal, it is important to build a proper financial plan so that you're in control of your finances. That starts with understanding your outgoings and expenditures and trying to make sure you always have enough set aside to cover life's essential costs for at least a few months if you were to lose your main source of household income or experience some other financial shock, like a costly home repair bill," she continued.
Money put aside could then be used to purchase income protection or a critical illness policy to provide a safety net in case something terrible happens.
"Unfortunately, many people don't have that financial buffer in place, making them vulnerable if their finances take a turn for the worse," said Goodland. "This can easily lead to strain on someone's mental health, especially if they're under pressure to support themselves and a family."
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