Money worries making you ill? Help is at hand

Published:
17 May 2013
Topic:
News,Money,Debt,Family Finance

Almost one in six Brits are so worried about money and their financial futures that it's affecting their mental health, says new research from MoneySupermarket.

If money worries are causing you sleepless nights, you're clearly not alone. Our research found that 16million people find finances the most stressful aspect of their lives, while 15% say it's having a detrimental effect on their health.

The link between mental health and money is well established so, in an economy where the cost of living is rising while wages are stalling, the research is hardly surprising.

But there's loads of help out there for anyone feeling the strain, and MoneySupermarket has teamed up with mental health charity Mind to let people know they don't have to suffer alone.

Here's a quick look at the research along with some practical advice on what to do if you're feeling the strain and need help.

Anxiety and stress

Almost a fifth (18%) of those surveyed said their current financial situation was what caused them the most stress. A further 13% said their future financial situation was causing the most worry.

That means not far short of a third of us put anxieties about money of one sort or another at the top of our worry list.

What's worse is that a huge 72% thought their worries would only get worse this year, with 51% citing the rising cost of living as the main reason. One in 10 said the forthcoming changes to the benefits system were troubling them.

Young people appear to be feeling the strain most, with two-thirds of 18-34 year olds saying they're frequently or occasionally worried about money.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySupermarket, said: "While we have recently narrowly avoided a triple dip recession, the impact of the last five years has hit people's finances hard, and so it is not surprising that it is such a cause of anxiety and stress."

Get help today

The average household debt, including mortgages, was £53,995 in March, according to national money education charity Credit Action. Excluding mortgages, the average debt was £5,980.

Trying to clear your debts can feel like an impossible task, but burying your head in the sand is the worst thing you can do. There's plenty of help out there and you don't have to pay a penny for it, so pick up the phone or log onto one of the following websites as soon as you can.

Mind offers support for people facing mental health problems, whether they're caused by financial worries or anything else.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "No one should have to face mental health problems alone and that's why we offer information and support to anyone who might be struggling with money matters."

You can find Mind online at http://www.mind.org.uk/ or call its advisors in confidence on 0300 123 3393. Calls are charged at local rates, but will cost more from a mobile phone.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) offers free, impartial and confidential advice on debt. Its staff receive specific training on mental health problems too, so you can talk to its advisors, in confidence, about your worries.

You can find the CAB online at http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/ or by making an appointment at your local branch, which you can search for online or in Yellow Pages.

StepChange, formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, also offers free advice on problem debt, anonymously.

It works with the Mental Health Foundation and has carried out its own research into the link between debt and mental health. For example, it found 78% of those in debt say it's damaged their self-confidence.

You can find StepChange online at www.stepchange.org or you can call them for free, including from mobile phones, on 0800 138 1111.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a debt counselling charity which helps people with unpaid/overdue rent, mortgage and bills as well as loans, credit and store cards. Every client receives a free, in-depth and award-winning service given via home visits. CAP helps everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background via a network of church-based centres across the UK.

You can find CAP online at http://www.capdebthelp.org/ or call free for an appointment on 0800 328 0006.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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Mark Hooson

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