Money and mental health
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It is common for money worries to affect your mental health. Unfortunately, having poor mental health also makes it more difficult to manage your finances. People with mental health problems are more likely to be in debt than people who don’t.

Research shows that we make poorer financial decisions when our defences are down: when we’re tired, stressed, or feeling low. Advertisers can take advantage of this, trying to get us to buy things or take out loans to make us feel better. 

But it’s not just about bad spending habits or poor decisions; it’s increasingly common for people to get into debt just paying for life’s essentials. As the stress mounts up, it’s harder to think clearly about what’s best to do.

You are not alone. Good advice and support is invaluable, and you never have to pay for it. Tell a friend – they might be able to help you make a call to that creditor you’ve been avoiding, or help you to open those bills. Organisation like Citizens Advice, Christians Against Poverty and StepChange can all help you make sense of your finances. Online forums can give you a place to get informal advice from peers anonymously. The online Money Advice Service has self-help advice and budget planners, to help you see what’s what. There’s also an excellent downloadable guide, the Mental Health and Debt 2017 guide, which gives detailed, practical advice on what to do if you, or someone you know, is struggling.

While the financial industry is starting to realise it has a duty of care to consumers, there’s still a long way to go. The new Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, a charity, is conducting research to help influence the industry and government policy. They hope this will change how creditors and businesses treat customers with mental health problems. They’re also testing tools that people can use themselves to help them take control of their money and mental health – for example, tools to lock yourself out of your online shopping accounts overnight if you’re prone to impulse-buy when you can’t sleep, or put spending limits on your cards during periods of illness. You can get involved and give feedback through their website: http://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/community/

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, don’t stay silent. Speak with the Teign Housing Rents team and let them know. If needed, they’ll refer you for specialist guidance with your consent.