What is financial stress?
Financial stress refers to a state of anxiety and worry in relation to current or upcoming difficulties with money. It is a very common type of stress which can persist over long periods of time and contribute to overall negative mental health.
Why is financial stress on the rise?
Despite fairly low unemployment rates in the UK right now, there are increasing issues with stagnating wages and an increase in the cost of living. This is caused by rises in gas and electricity prices, increasing costs of food and the long-lasting effects of the pandemic which has contributed to increasing costs and created financial instability.
These are all issues which disproportionately affect lower income households too. Therefore, increased numbers of people are struggling to earn and manage money efficiently and this has knock on effects for their wellbeing.
How does financial stress affect mental health?
Financial stress can have a severe impact on mental health. They are often thought to act in a vicious cycle whereby financial stress is related to poor mental health and mental health issues can make earning and managing money even more difficult.
Difficulties with money and associated chronic stress can cause both mental and physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, loss of interest in self-care activities and hobbies, disruptions to weight, physical symptoms such as headaches and high blood pressure, and isolation from friends and family. These can all further contribute to worsening mental health conditions and increased difficulty managing money.
Chronic stress can even become so severe that it mimics symptoms of PTSD.
What can you do about financial stress and mental health?
There are many ways to cope with and improve financial stress and associated mental health issues. Here are a few tips to reduce financial stress:
- Make a plan – regain control by dealing with money problems by creating plans such as creating budgets, organizing financial documents and allocating time to deal with finances
- Make time for distractions
- Engage in relaxation and mindfulness practices
- Ask for support
- Look into claiming benefits
These are just a few ways to help with financial stress and mental health. For further tips, look at this previous blog on tips for saving money: Tips for saving money – trs (trstrainingltd.com)
Further, the open university offer a free online course for young adults looking to manage their money: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=67802
Other services available and information sources
- Step change – for advice on money and debts – https://www.stepchange.org/
- Turn2us – information and advice on benefits – https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
- Money and mental health – Mind
- Money and mental health facts and statistics – A Money and Mental Health Policy Institute factsheet
- Financial Stress: What’s Money Got to Do with Sanity? (betterup.com)
Mental health support
- Visit your GP
- Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/ – Helpline: 116 123
- Shout – 24 hour text helpline: 85258
- Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
How can TRS Training help?
As part of our package of services for apprentices and apprentice employers, TRS Training can offer advice and support for staff wellbeing. If you are an apprentice who is experiencing mental health challenges such as financial stress or an employer who is concerned about one or more of your apprentices, please contact your TRS trainer. They will take steps to support both the apprentice, and you as their employer. We have two mental health coaches, trained to provide specialist support and guidance.