Difficulties with money is an issue that can affect us all.

Even the United Kingdom is in debt.

A job and house may foster a sense of complacency in your mind but our situation can drastically change at any given time.

A study by housing charity Shelter shows that one in three working families are only one pay cheque away from losing their home.

It is clear that there are a range of pressures and difficulties facing working class families and young people – and financial stresses are yet another contributor to mental ill health. 

Financial pressures for the young

It is becoming increasingly unrealistic for young people to own their homes, as only 31% of 25-29 year olds own their own property, whilst in the same age group the proportion of homeowners in 1990 was 63%.

Alongside which, in just five years private rental princes in Great Britain increased by 14.3% - showing that both home ownership and renting are proving to be a major cause of concern for young people and working class families.

These pressures are putting a further strain on our mental health, as many challenges in one’s life can to some extent be related to financial difficulty.

Money as a measure of success

What’s more is that the conditioning of our minds to believe that money is a measure of success – often at the expense of our mental wellbeing – makes it difficult to speak up.

The rising pressure enforced on young people through social media is making financial difficulties all the more prevalent.

Roughly four in 10 adults with a social media account say that seeing other people’s purchases and vacations on social media makes them look into a similar purchase or vacation.

However, a personal lack of finances and scrolling or clicking at the lavishness of others can lead to a range of issues.

Mental health issues can develop as a consequence of feeling inadequate or financially unstable in contrast to contemporaries and celebrities, which can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

What help is at hand?

There is much being done to support individuals that may be suffering with mental health issues and simultaneously struggling with their financial wellbeing.

Lloyds Banking group has joined forces with Mental Health UK to offer support for people experiencing both mental health and financial difficulties.

TheMoneySavingExpert.com has launched a free online booklet for those suffering with mental health and financial difficulty; as mental health problems can cause severe debt, and severe debt can cause mental health problems. 

Let’s talk about it

However, much more needs to be done to encourage conversations between colleagues, friends and families in addressing money and mental health.

To address these issues, we must create an open and honest culture of discussing matters that may lead to the further worsening of people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

 Through removing the taboo around financial difficulties, people dealing with mental health and/or financial issues can feel more comfortable in accessing peer support and professional help. We must support individuals dealing with money and mental health issues – as the answers they need may not be with us, but the conversations we have with them may lead them to the people with the answers.

About the author

Ali Hussain is a Project Coordinator at King’s College London IoPPN. You can follow him on twitter @syed_aliq.

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