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Money and your mental health

Studies throughout the world show that money problems and mental health are linked. In many countries, young adults are most likely to experience mental health or wellbeing issues related to money.

Money worries can affect your wellbeing at any time in your life, whether you're earning a regular income or not. If any of the following behaviours seem familiar to you then it may indicate that money is affecting your health and wellbeing:

  • You spend money to make yourself feel better - you rarely turn down a night out with friends, even if it leaves you short of money later in the month
  • You feel worried whenever you spend any money at all, even if it's on essential, everyday items
  • You find it hard to fall asleep because you are worrying about money
  • You avoid opening emails from your bank because you are worried about what they might say

If any of these behaviours affect you, then the longer you leave them the more they can affect your mental health. Talk to your doctor or medical practitioner if these behaviours are recurring as they may be able to recommend counselling or other support. Alternatively, you could contact a charity that specialises in mental health issues.

Spotting addictive behaviour

When your mental health and wellbeing is affected by money problems and worries, it can lead to a range of addictive behaviours, some of which aren't easy to spot by yourself.

They can include:

Gambling - If you keep gambling, even when losses begin to take a toll on relationships, finances or your career, then you have an addiction issue. It may leave you in serious debt, as well as affect your physical and mental health. You may consider seeking professional help to tackle your addiction, but as a first step you may find that your bank offers 'gambling blocks' that let you turn off gambling transactions on your bank cards. Speak to your bank to find out what they offer.

In-app purchases - Addictive behaviours take many forms. Online and mobile gaming can seem like harmless fun, but young people in particular are at risk of addiction through in-app purchases and video game add-ons on their phone or other mobile devices.

Using credit to purchase investment products - Borrowing money or using credit for an investment might seem like a good idea, especially when the interest rates are low. However, it is risky as there's a chance of you losing your investment, but you will still have to pay for the credit that you have borrowed.

Discussing your money worries

Talking about your money worries isn't easy, but it may really help. If you are unable to talk with your spouse or partner about financial difficulties, or how they are affecting your health, try talking to:

  • Your doctor or a medical practitioner
  • A trusted friend or family member
  • A support worker or other health professional
  • A charity that specialises in mental health issues
  • A tutor, or a counsellor in student services (if you are a student)

If a particular money issue is affecting you, like a loan or payment that you can't pay, then talking about it with your bank or financial provider can be a good place to start. They may be able to help, for example by consolidating your debts, or extending the period of a loan.

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