You’ll have probably seen plenty of newspaper reports about mental health in recent months to encourage more vulnerable clients to reach out for help in the run-up to World Mental Health Day on 10th October. Slowly-but-surely, the stigma is being removed, though there is still more work to be done.
Most of us are aware of the link between mental health and financial problems. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, spending money helps you feel better in the short-term, even if it leads to debt further down the line. In other situations, general money worries, like fearing you can’t pay the rent or buy food, can compound your condition even further.

It’s important to work closely with your GP to ensure you receive the right support, however, there is also financial help available to help alleviate the stress.

Check your benefits

If your condition means you struggle to work, you could be eligible for Employment Support Allowance. You will need to undertake a series of tests, including the Work Capability Assessment – and you may be able to receive financial assistance if you work fewer than 16 hours and earn less than £120 a week. Navigating the benefits system is sometimes difficult, especially when you are feeling vulnerable, so try to seek support from a friend, relative or via local branches of Mind and Citizens Advice.

Help for the armed forces

Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the armed forces have received much publicity, thanks to charities like Combat Stress and recent campaigns backed by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Life on the frontline is extremely distressing and former servicemen and women might experience flashbacks and/or have to come to terms with severe physical injuries. Organisations providing mental health support and grants for veterans include The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.

Managing mental health in the workplace

Many people with mental health issues find that going to work improves their wellbeing and enables them to remain financially independent. Having said that, there could be occasions when your condition makes everyday tasks seem overwhelming, potentially affecting your performance.

When working through mental health issues, it’s important that you speak to your HR team or a trusted line manager as soon as possible. Depending on your company’s policy, you may be allowed to work flexibly, have time off for counselling appointments and/or be put on ‘light duties’ to avoid stress. Remember, the law protects you from discrimination, so take a look at Mind’s website for further information.

For more details on debt and mental health, visit our dedicated page.