Debt problems and poor mental health can often be closely intertwined. So, to mark World Mental Health Day, we’re highlighting ways to improve mental health, how to find help for yourself or a loved one, and how to potentially prevent financial troubles later down the line.

Data from last year revealed that 82% of people contacting us for help with their debts said money worries were impacting their mental health at the time. So, as you can imagine, helping people to improve their mental health is a subject very close to our hearts.

The survey also showed that:

  • 73% of people were initially embarrassed to seek debt advice
  • 90% said they were suffering from anxiety
  • 72% said they were suffering from depression
  • 81% of people told us their mental health is in a better place since getting debt advice

Here are some ways to improve your mental wellbeing

  • Connect with other people – Social connections, especially face-to-face, can boost your mental wellbeing
  • Exercise or play sport – Being active can not only increase your physical wellbeing, but also your mental wellbeing
  • Learning new skills – Stepping out of your comfort zone can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding. This could be anything from baking, drawing, DIY or a new hobby
  • Supporting others – Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can improve your mental wellbeing
  • Be mindful – Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.

How to find support if you or a loved one’s mental health is suffering

Seeking help is often the first step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know how to start or where to turn to. Good mental health and wellbeing is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems. It’s a person’s ability to perform key functions and activities.

The following could be signs someone is suffering with their mental health:

  • Feeling sad, down or like nothing matters
  • Not able to perform daily tasks
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Frequently tired, low or no energy
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs
  • Extreme mood swings, yelling, fighting
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on-edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Hearing voices or believing things that aren’t true

If you’re feeling any of the above or low, depressed, anxious or trapped then it may help to reach out. While we can help to reduce your money worries, specialist mental health organisations, such as Samaritans, CALM, Shout and Mind, can help with your wellbeing.

How to make the most of your budget

A budget planner is a great way to see what money you have coming in, and what you spend. Every time you have a change of circumstances, you should do a new budget.

This is particularly important if you’ve taken out any new subscriptions (think Disney+, Sky, Amazon Prime), have seen a rise in your energy bills, or you’ve had a change in income.

During the pandemic, we may have seen taking out subscriptions as a like-for-like swap for the money you may have been saving on travel by working from home, or not going for a meal out with friends. But, depending on your contract, they may not be so easy to turn off.  Make sure they’re accounted for and if you no longer need them, look into cancelling.

World Suicide Awareness Day may have been four weeks ago, however, the impact of suicide and suicidal ideation never goes away, and with the cost-of-living crisis, it’s important to understand that support is available.

Getting free debt help if you have a mental health problem

Every adviser at PayPlan has received dedicated training to spot the signs of and support mental health and wellbeing. We also have a specialist vulnerable client team who supports people who are particularly vulnerable.

If you have mental health problems and you’re also in debt, you can contact us by calling us for free on 0800 316 1833 – we’re open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-3pm on Saturdays. Alternatively, you can visit our website for more information.