How Student Advice is supporting Wellbeing Week
Throughout Wellbeing Week, 22nd – 28th November, we will be posting money related blogs which tie in with the daily themes of the week.
To kickstart the campaign, today we are looking at the relationship between money and mental health as a clear link can be made between struggling with money and mental health problems. Feeling depressed, stressed or anxious can make it difficult to manage money.
In turn money stresses can negatively affect your mental wellbeing and with the rise in energy prices, National Insurance as well as cuts in benefits any one of us could experience poor mental health and poor mental health through money worries at some point in our lives.
Often when we are experiencing mental health issues we may find it harder to make budgeting and spending decisions . The symptoms of a mental illness might cause us to behave impulsively like spending a lot of money all in one go or spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need and then regret later.
We also might become more avoidant of our money issues, feeling anxious or stressed about talking on the phone, going to the bank or opening our bills which further exacerbates the issue.
The sooner we can begin to think about and tackle our money problems, the easier it’ll be to take control. It’s better to face these worries rather than ignore them.
To get your finances on track take a deep breath and tackle the mail/emails that might be building up about your debts or take a look through your bank statements to see your income and outgoings.
Once you know what you owe you can then start making a budget to work out how much money you need every month.
First calculate your income. This will include your student finance and any income from benefits, employment of help from family. You may find that your wages may have gone down if you have to stop or take time off work because you’re unwell, if this is the case make sure you find out if you’re entitled to any sick pay.
Make a list of all your outgoings then check your list against your bank statements to see what you are actually spending. You may find that you need to make some drastic changes in order to prioritise what to spend money on first – this is known as your essential expenditure.
Items you should always prioritise include:
- Rent/Mortgage payments.
- Utility bills – gas, electricity, water, broadband
- Food and household cleaning
- Travel to campus / placement
- TV Licence
- Clothes and toiletries
Using your priority list, you can work out how much money you absolutely need every month and you can then compare this to how much money you have coming in.
If you find that you have more money going out than coming in, it is important not to panic.
If you feel overwhelmed or need some guidance with your situation, please contact us in the Student Advice Service so that we can help you get your finances back on track.
We can explore ways of maximising your income and ensuring that you are getting everything you are entitled to whilst also talking with you about your expenses and offering advice on reducing spending and creating better spending habits for the future.
If you have credit cards or non-secured loans and are finding it hard to make the repayments we can also assist you with drawing up an affordable repayment programme based on your budget. We can liaise with the bank or creditor on your behalf until a mutually acceptable rate of repayment has been agreed and also request that any interest accruing on the account be frozen whilst negotiations are being made. This will stop the debt going up.
The Government recently introduced a scheme known as Breathing Space where people with a mental health condition are granted a 60 day period where all charges, interest or enforcement action are paused so most companies are aware and open to having negotiations with you if you feel your mental health has had an impact on your finances in any way.
Therefore if you are struggling with your finances and your mental health is being negatively impacted, please don’t ignore the situation. As soon as you can make contact with Student Advisers, we can support you in taking the first steps in taking back control of the situation either by managing your finances and /or connecting you to other University departments who can support your wellbeing.
You can call us: 01273 642888, email us: email@example.com to request an appointment over the phone, Teams or in person.
We are here to support you.
Student Advice Service