Supporting your financial wellbeing during Mental Health Week

Credit Unions of Wales is supporting National Mental Health Week (May 15-21) as money worries are a major cause of mental health problems.

As the Cost of Living crisis continues to tighten its grip and inflation has risen again in the past week, more people are experiencing feelings of depression, stress and anxiety.

The UK population is experiencing widespread levels of stress, anxiety and hopelessness in response to financial concerns, according to a new survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation.

Mental Health Awareness Week, now in its 23rd year, is hosted by the charity, Mental Health Foundation.

The survey of 3000 adults aged 18 and over, conducted by Opinium, found that 29% of adults experienced stress, 34% experienced anxiety and 10% said they felt hopeless because of financial worries during the previous month.

UK adults are most concerned about not being able to maintain their standard of living (71%), heat their home (66%) or pay general monthly household bills (61%). Significantly, half (50%) of UK adults were at least a little worried about being able to afford food over the next few months, rising to 67% of younger adults aged 18 to 34.

This year, National Mental health Awareness Week are using the theme of ‘anxiety’ to highlight these ongoing issues.

As part of the campaign, the Mental Health Foundation will be publishing guidance on how we can manage and improve feelings of anxiety and prevent them from developing into a more serious mental health problem.

This comes as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report finds that around one in five of our population (20%) were in poverty in 2020/21 – that’s 13.4 million people. Of these:

  • 7.9 million were working-age adults
  • 3.9 million were children
  • 1.7 million were pensioners.

Finance is often the source of many mental health issues because unmanageable debt doesn’t just effect the individual and their families.

Poor mental health can make managing money hard and worrying about your finances makes your mental health worse so it can feel like a vicious cycle.

The rising mountain of debt experienced by many people doesn’t just effect the individual and their families either, but can have a dramatic impact on their job, causing poor work performance, lack of engagement and absenteeism.

That’s why credit unions encourage more people to access a range of financial products to help improve their wellbeing.

As a credit union member, you will benefit from an easy route to fair and ethical savings and loans, while also supporting the wider community because, as financial co-operatives, credit unions plough profits into providing services to all of their members.

Feeling low or anxious is normal when you’ve got yourself into debt and sorting out your finances may feel like an overwhelming task.

But you can take control of the situation one step at a time with these helpful tips:

  • Stay active
    If you have more time because you’re not at work, or working from home do some form of exercise because physical activity can improve your mood. See our get fit for free for ideas on how to exercise without spending any money.
  • Face your fears
    If you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your debts. Some people cut themselves off from friends and family and lose their confidence to travel. If this starts to happen, facing these situations will generally make them easier.
    GOV.UK has information about: redundancy and dismissals,  benefits and managing debt. 
  • Do not drink too much alcohol
    You may drink more than usual as a way of dealing with your emotions or just to fill in time. But alcohol will not help you deal with your problems and could add to your stress.
    Get tips on how to cut down on alcohol.
  • Talk to someone
    You may find it hard to talk to your partner, friends or family about your debt or spending. StepChange has information on how to talk to your partner or family about debt .You may be tempted to borrow money from people, but then have problems paying the money back. The Money Advice Service has information on borrowing money from family or friends.

For further details visit Mental Health Awareness week.

 

 

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