Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (2024)

Worrying about money can affect our mental wellbeing and our ability to manage money can be affected by a mental health issue. The two are often linked.

Increasing cost-of-living pressures can lead to more financial stress, so knowing ways to look after your mental health when dealing with money problems is more important than ever.

Find out how to look after your mental health when dealing with money issues, plus get money advice including where to get more support if needed.

How money worries can affect mental health

We can all struggle with our feelings when faced with money issues. But if you're finding it difficult to deal with money problems and need help, it could, understandably, have a big impact on your mental health.

Our mental health might be affected by money problems in different ways, for instance:

  • stress, worry or anxiety because we do not have enough money (financial anxiety)
  • a low mood or feeling depressed about money
  • lower self-esteem, or feelings of guilt or shame if we're not earning enough or currently unemployed
  • sleep problems

How our mental health can affect how we manage money

Mental health issues might lead to money problems, such as:

  • avoiding or ignoring money issues, like leaving bills unopened or not paying them, or putting off getting money advice
  • skipping meals or staying home, possibly to save money, which may lead to increased social isolation and loneliness
  • spending more to lift our mood
  • unemployment, or not being able to work, face going to work or look for work

Ways to care for your mental health when you have money worries

Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (1)

1. Be kind to yourself

Self-compassion is vital for our mental wellbeing, especially in tough times – and getting into the right mind space can help before dealing with money problems.

If you're struggling to cope with money or unemployment, accepting that things might be outside your control, or take time to sort can help you feel calmer.

Try to treat yourself kindly and avoid negative self-talk or unhelpful thoughts. It can also help to remember that things change.

Try cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, such as focussing on what you can control.

Self-help CBT techniques
Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (2)

2. Talk about your money issues

It can help to talk about your money worries with someone you trust, like a friend or family member. You might prefer to talk to someone confidentially, perhaps to work out how you feel right now or what to do next, like getting money advice.

Mental Health and Money Advice is an online advice service covering both mental health and financial problems, and Mind offers support online and by phone (0300 123 3393). Relate has trained counsellors who can help if money is causing relationship problems.

There are also NHS mental health services, including free NHS talking therapies, which are available to everyone in England aged 18 or over.

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3. Switch off from money worries

Relaxation techniques and meditation can help us feel calmer, which might help with feelings of anxiety about money.

Taking time to pause and focus on our breathing can help us feel more present – even taking a few deep breaths in and out can help.

If you're not sure how to start, try our mindful breathing exercise video to guide you.

You can get more tips on ways to mediate in our beginner's guide to meditation.

Video: Mindful breathing

Mindfulness and meditation can help us to stay in the moment and focus on the here and now. Try our mindful breathing video.

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4. Create good self-care routines

Sticking to a routine might give us a sense of purpose and boost our mood.

This can be tough if you're feeling low, so start with simple things, such as getting up and going to bed at the same time every day.

As you stick to your routine, you should notice that your mood starts to improve.

Perhaps start building more into your routine as you go along, like planning something social or fun, or trying to exercise more.

If you are not working right now, it's still good to stick to good self-care routines, and if you're currently looking for work, take regular breaks and do or plan something enjoyable.

How to fall asleep faster and sleep better
Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (5)

5. Face unemployment fears

Our mental wellbeing can take a hit if we are not working. A job is often vital to our financial wellbeing and security – and our self-esteem. It might also give us a sense of achievement, a feeling of belonging, and be an important social network, which helps with feelings of loneliness.

Taking practical steps for our mental health, which we use every day, can help us build resilience. This could include having a good self-care routine, exploring unhelpful thoughts, and looking for solutions to problems that are within our control.

It's natural to worry about life's challenges, like unemployment, but it can help to take a step back and break things down into more manageable chunks.

Find out more about how problem-solving techniques could help in Self-help CBT techniques.

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6. Maintain physical health to help ease anxiety

Our physical health often affects how we feel emotionally and mentally.

Being active can really help when we are dealing with stress caused by money problems and work issues.

Try to be active and stick to a healthy diet. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, smoking or using illegal drugs.

You can get help to quit smoking or drink less on our Better Health website, and if you're worried about using drugs, FRANK offers a free advice line (call 0300 123 6600).

Find out how to be active for your mental health

Practical money advice including how to manage debt

Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (7)

1. Create a budget or money plan

A budget is a plan for balancing money coming in and going out, which can help us feel more in control and help to ease anxiety or stress over money.

Aim to set a regular time to look at your costs, so you can work out what you can spend each week or month.

Budgeting can be an effective way to manage debt or stop it from happening, and doing this can help you feel more in control.

It might also help you identify whether you can save a bit of money, perhaps for covering unexpected life challenges, such as replacing an expensive household item.

MoneyHelper's budget planner is a free online tool to help you start planning your budget.

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2. Get free money advice or help with debt

Struggling with money or debt can feel overwhelming. You might feel like there is no way out, but you can get free financial advice and support that can help.

Although it might be tempting to avoid tackling debt head on, it's better to get help as soon as you can so you start getting back on top of things.

Organisations that offer free money advice include MoneyHelper and the National Debtline.

If you currently have no money and need help, StepChange has advice on emergency help with money and food.

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3. Understand your employment rights and how to get support

If you're worried about unemployment, redundancy, losing your job or you've lost your job, knowing what options you have can help.

MoneyHelper's work advice covers redundancy and how to manage money after job loss, and has advice for the self-employed. Citizens Advice has information on benefits and support for wider issues you might be facing.

Redundancy can also be a big worry, so knowing your redundancy rights may help you to manage the situation and reduce the stress it may cause. You can find out more about your rights on the ACAS website.

Money and our home environment

Living in damp, cold or poor housing, and worrying about how to pay the bills can really have an impact on our mental wellbeing.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage and your income has been reduced, you could try asking your lender for a payment holiday - to temporarily stop or reduce your payments.

If you are finding it hard to pay your rent as a tenant, try to speak to your landlord as soon as possible and see if they can give you more time.

Homelessness is extremely stressful and many of the things that cause it are beyond our control, such as disability and poverty.

Being homeless can make it even harder for someone with poor mental health to recover and find secure, stable housing and a job, as well as making it harder to form healthy relationships.

There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you have housing issues.

Further support on mental health and money, and advice on money and debt

Find more support

Life changes
Mental health and physical illness
Dealing with loneliness
Money worries and mental health - Every Mind Matters (2024)


How does money affect mental health? ›

These are some common ways money can affect your mental health: Certain situations might trigger feelings of anxiety and panic, like opening envelopes or attending a benefits assessment. Worrying about money can lead to sleep problems. You might not be able to afford the things you need to stay well.

Is money or mental health more important? ›

The Importance of Mental Health

It affects our relationships, our performance at work, and our overall sense of happiness and fulfillment. Neglecting our mental health in favor of financial pursuits often leads to long-term mental (and sometimes physical) consequences that outweigh any monetary gain.

Why am I struggling so much financially? ›

It may be that you have too much credit card debt, not enough income, or you overspend on unnecessary purchases when you feel stressed or anxious. Or perhaps, it's a combination of problems. Make a separate plan for each one.

What is the root cause of financial stress? ›

Low financial literacy. Financial abuse. Family obligations, such as the need to financially support family members. Economic conditions, such as living through an economic recession.

How to stop obsessing over money? ›

8 strategies to stop stressing about money
  1. Don't let money consume your thoughts.
  2. Get organized.
  3. Let go.
  4. Set up monthly auto payments.
  5. Talk to someone about your financial stress.
  6. Manage your health to build wealth.
  7. Focus on your financial goals.
  8. Live a little.

How to stop worrying about money when you have enough? ›

How to stop worrying about money and start living
  1. Get grounded: Practice relaxing breathing exercises and meditation. ...
  2. Create financial goals: Set clear, achievable objectives. ...
  3. Make a budget: Track finances and control spending. ...
  4. Schedule money check-ins: Regularly review your financial situation.
Mar 12, 2024

What is financial anxiety? ›

Financial anxiety, or money anxiety, is a feeling of worry about your money situation. This can include your income, your job security, your debts, and your ability to afford necessities and non-essentials.

What is the financial burden of mental health? ›

On average, each individual affected by untreated mental illness had an associated $9801 (RoU, $5937-$13 454) of costs. Excess direct health care costs were estimated to be $708 million annually (RoU, $335 million-$1.2 billion).

Are people struggling financially in 2024? ›

As living expenses in the U.S. continue to rise and wages struggle to keep up, it's unsurprising that Americans of all generations are having a hard time financially. For many, this means living paycheck to paycheck.

How can I be happy when struggling financially? ›

Stay active. Keep seeing your friends, keep your CV up to date, and try to keep paying the bills. If you have more time because you're not at work, do some form of exercise – physical activity can improve your mood if you're feeling low.

What percentage of people live paycheck to paycheck? ›

A majority, 65%, say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to CNBC and SurveyMonkey's recent Your Money International Financial Security Survey, which polled 498 U.S. adults. That's a slight increase from last year's results, which found that 58% of Americans considered themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck.

Can financial stress make you sick? ›

Recent studies have linked money worries to anxiety and depression, pain and inflammation, heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, ulcers, back pain, arthritis, and asthma, among other ailments, as well as a higher risk of disability and early death.

Can financial stress cause trauma? ›

Financial trauma can lead to significant mental health consequences, including increased stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of shame, guilt or worthlessness.

How to overcome financial troubles? ›

In this article:
  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Make a budget to help you resolve your financial problems.
  3. Lower your expenses.
  4. Pay in cash.
  5. Stop taking on debt to avoid aggravating your financial problems.
  6. Avoid buying new.
  7. Meet with your advisor to discuss your financial problems.
  8. Increase your income.
Jan 29, 2024

How does income affect mental health? ›

After excluding studies with inconsistent findings and at critical RoB, 88·9% reported a beneficial effect of income, where either an income increase was associated with improvement in mental health or an income decrease was associated with worsening of mental health (95% CI 77·4–95·8, n=54, p<0·0001).

How does being rich affect your mental health? ›

Wealth Affects Mental Health When People Mask Problem Behaviors. Anxiety, isolation, worries about work and love, and fears over their children can all lead to problem behaviors for someone who's wealthy.

What are the emotional effects of money? ›

Our mental health might be affected by money problems in different ways, for instance: stress, worry or anxiety because we do not have enough money (financial anxiety) a low mood or feeling depressed about money. lower self-esteem, or feelings of guilt or shame if we're not earning enough or currently unemployed.

How does money affect human behavior? ›

Children growing up in wealthy families may seem to have it all, but having it all may come at a high cost. Wealthier children tend to be more distressed than lower-income kids, and are at high risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, cheating, and stealing.

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