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Money and mental health

Money can be a really tricky subject.

We all think about it, but it’s not always something we talk about openly. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one worrying about it, but everyone worries about money now and then.

But if money is becoming a big source of stress for you, and you’re getting overwhelmed by managing your finances, it’s a good idea to talk to someone. Asking for help is tough, but there are people out there who can support you.

Whatever situation you’re in with money, know that this isn’t a reflection of your value as a person and it isn’t your fault. Some people have it easier than others when it comes to money, but that doesn’t make them better than you. And some people need to spend more than others just to live, like people with disabilities or long-term illnesses. Whatever your circumstances, if you’re feeling worried about money, help is out there and there are things you can do to look after your mental health.

Get help now
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  • Struggling with money is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Having conversations with people you trust will build a support network going forward.
  • Ask for help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, so don’t struggle alone.

Tips if you need urgent help with your finances

If you’re struggling to pay bills and finding it hard to manage the essentials like housing and food, there are people and organisations who can help. Here’s where you can turn for support.

  • Local food banks

    The Trussell Trust has information on how to find your local foodbank, how to get a food parcel and what to expect from visiting a foodbank. FairShare can also link you up with one of their regional food centres, which can provide you with food based on your needs.

  • Housing

    The housing charity Shelter have lots of information and advice that can help if you’re worried about housing and paying rent.

  • Energy bills

    Ofgem have information and advice about your options if you can’t afford to pay your energy bills.

  • Debt

    StepChange are a national debt charity that can help you if you’re worried about debt.

A young person alone and looking down at the ground.
Although working a full-time job as a 20-year-old girl, the cost-of-living crisis has seriously affected me. I'm constantly counting down the days until payday, extending my overdraft (on multiple occasions), requesting an advance on my pay and occasionally have a second job on the side just to get by. If you're struggling, you are not alone. Many people are struggling right now, so my advice would be to reach out to someone you trust and not to suffer in silence.

Campaign for change

  • 72% of young people told us they are ‘often’ or ‘always’ worried about money, as part of our Big Young People's Survey in 2021.

    At YoungMinds, we believe that no young person should have to worry about their basic needs, like food, warmth, or a safe place to sleep. We’ve heard firsthand from speaking to young people that these are real concerns that have an enormous impact on your physical and mental health.

    If you want to take action, here are some organisations you can join in their campaign for change:

Mental health tips if you're worried about money

If you’re worrying a lot about money, it can be hard to look after your mental health. Struggling with money can bring up a mix of emotions, from stress and anxiety to feeling inadequate or comparing yourself to others. Here are some tips to help support your wellbeing.

  • Talk to someone you trust

    This can feel really tough and awkward, but most people have been worried about money at one point or another. They might be able to offer you advice that you hadn’t thought of before.

  • Make a list of what's important to you

    Keep a list of what’s important for you to spend money on to help you focus on what you need. You could also write down longer-term goals for your money to help you remember what’s most important to you.

  • Think about who you follow online

    Social media can sometimes make you feel worse about your situation, like if you see people on your feed buying lots of new things, doing ‘hauls’ and showing off their successes. Try to follow accounts that make you feel good, and remember that not everything you see on social media is real.

  • Plan ahead

    If your mood tends to influence your spending habits, it can help to set limits on your accounts or have a plan in place for when you notice your mood shifting. Distract yourself with activities that make you feel good or create a self-soothe box to help ground you in those moments.

  • Putting aside little bits each month into pots with specific goals helps you keep motivated to save.
  • Be open with your friends about wanting to find ways to hang out that don’t cost anything.

Tips on managing your money

When it comes to money, we all face different challenges. Even if you’re not struggling to pay your bills, money and finances can be a real source of anxiety. Whatever your situation and however you’re feeling, your feelings are valid. Here are some tips to help you feel more in control of your finances.

  • Use budgeting tools

    There are loads of apps and websites that can help you budget and keep track of how much you’re spending.

  • Use cash instead of card

    Try budgeting how much you need for the week and taking that amount out in cash. This can make it easier to track your spending. You could do it for specific expenses like food shopping.

  • Get financial support

    Use a benefit calculator to find out whether you’re entitled to any financial support.

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Money and finance can be confusing.

And not understanding the language can cause anxiety and stress. If you’d like to find out more, or you have any questions about money, the Citizens Advice Bureau has lots of information on different topics. Or check out these sites for more specific advice:

Supporting someone who's struggling with money

Money is often a sensitive subject, so it can be tough to know how to support others if they’re struggling, especially if you’ve never been in their situation. Here are some ways you can help.

Let them know you're always up for a chat if they need it. When they do talk to you, make sure you’re prepared. Money Helper has some good tips on how to start a conversation.

You might not have all the answers, and that's okay. There are organisations out there that can help.

Try to plan activities that don’t involve spending money. Try going for a walk near where they live or hosting a film night at yours. This can help take the pressure off.

Remember it’s not your responsibility to have all the answers. Taking care of yourself is just as important. Get more advice in our guide to supporting a friend with their mental health.

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Financial pressures on the family

If your family is under financial pressure, it can often cause stress, anxiety, and arguments. This can be really tough. You may feel a responsibility to help out in some way, or even blame yourself for the situation. But it’s not your fault and it’s not your responsibility to fix it.

If worrying about your family’s situation is having a negative impact on your mental health, don’t keep it to yourself. Speak to your family or another person you trust.

For more support during this tough time, take a look at our guide to family relationships or find out how to get help below.

Reaching out for help

Get help now

  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
  • Turn2us

    Helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other help – online, by phone or face-to-face through partner organisations.

    Opening times:
    Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm
  • National Debtline

    Information and advice on managing bills and debt, including debt management plans and council tax arrears. The charity offers template letters to use when contacting lenders and suppliers as well as a free helpline and webchat service.

    0808 808 4000

    Opening times:
    Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm; Saturday 9:30am - 1pm
  • Shelter

    Provides information and advice about housing and homelessness. 

    Webchat service available 9am - 5pm on weekdays. 

    Access local support and advice.

    Opening times:
    8am - 8pm on weekdays, 9am - 5pm on weekends
  • Citizens Advice

    Provides information and advice on issues such as discrimination because of race and/or religion, benefits, work, universal credit, debt, housing and immigration.

    Webchat service available.

    Opening times:
    9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday

Whether you love the page or think something is missing, we appreciate your feedback. It all helps us to support more young people with their mental health.

Please be aware that this form isn’t a mental health support service. If you are in crisis right now and want to talk to someone urgently, find out who to contact on our urgent help page.

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This form is not a mental health support service. We cannot reply to this. If you are at risk of immediate harm, call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E. If you are worried about your mental health, call: Childline (for under 19s) on 0800 11 11; or Samaritans on 116 123.

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