Money on your mind? Protect your mental health
Quids in! research shows that the health of many people on lower incomes has worsened over the past year or so. More than two thirds of the people surveyed (68%) said they felt anxious, frightened or depressed on account of money worries. This suggests many are on their way to mental ill-health, if they are not suffering from it already.
The thing with mental ill-health is that it affects other parts of our lives, such as physical health, job prospects and our ability to deal with the problems that are making us unwell. It can lead to a downward spiral, with pressure on relationships with friends and family, for example, which we need if we going to be able to cope in future. If we could get help with our finances, many of us would feel better.
Quids in! Says…
More health professionals should recognise money worries are sometimes the root cause of mental (and physical) ill-health and should refer people to debt advice and other help. It’s not just about a prescription to help people get by. That just won’t solve the problem.
Meanwhile, we can take steps to look out for ourselves. Here are our Top 10 Tips on protecting our mental health:
- Take regular exercise this boosts immunity and is good for mental health
- Including fresh fruit, veg and nuts in our diet also helps our body keep illness at bay
- For people skipping meals a vitamin supplement like Vitamin C + Zinc may help fend off illness. (A balanced diet is better but for people missing meals altogether, this isn’t an option)
- Sleep: It’s a vicious cycle when anxiety causes sleeplessness but sleep is essential for wellbeing, so watch the caffeine, alcohol and sugar, especially late in the day
- A good laugh with friends can be a real tonic. Literally
- A little alcohol can help us relax but it is a depressant and can make us feel lower than we did when we started
- Stop: Get a few minutes ‘me time’ and just stop. Think of the brain like an over-worked machine – switch it off and on again
- Think positive! Hard if you’re in a bad place already but try to see the good in things and life is a little easier
- Making a plan of all things that need sorting out can relieve the stress because you don’t have to remember everything, just where you left the list. You can see things progress too
- Think “What’s the worst that could happen?” Many people make themselves sick worrying about bills but sometimes it’s the worry that does you in. There is help on hand if a bill blows a hole in your budget
Worried about your money worries might be affecting your mental health?
Try this self-help test devised by the NHS and the Money Advice Service to see how much you may be affected and what you could do to boost your health.
Help on hand
Mind, mental health charity
Advice and support for anyone with a mental health problem
Promotes understanding of anxiety disorders.
Helpline: 08444 775774
Mental Health Foundation
Advice to people with mental illness and others affected
Brings people together to end the isolation of depression
Offer an ear 24/7, whatever the problem, in confidence:
Tel: 116 123