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Bills, debts, benefits, overdrafts, owing money, giving money, taking money – it’s safe to say, money can be a bit of a worry, however, is it really that much of a concern that it can affect your mental health?

Money and its relationship with mental health can often seem like a vicious cycle. You may have poor mental health because your finances aren’t good, but your finances may not be in great order because your mental health is poor and maybe you therefore cannot go to work or earn a decent living, meaning money is tight. The current situation of benefits being routinely cut, zero-hour work contracts and general austerity means that people are struggling more and more to afford the essentials. Food banks are becoming common-place and increasing numbers of people are being made redundant. These issues can have a negative and deteriorating effect on one’s mental health.

If you have problems with employment or not being able to find a job it can really damage your self-esteem and affect other parts of your life. Let’s take the classic example, you finish your degree or Masters but you became more and more disheartened as you kept applying for job after job, to only be repeatedly ignored. This can make you feel as though you are not good enough and not worth the job. Coupled with the lack of money due to the unemployment, it meant you are rarely able to do things you enjoy. Although there are plenty of ways you can enjoy yourself expense free, but you may not want to go out and see friends because it’s expensive and you want to be able to afford food and bills and cannot keep up with their rates of spending. Therefore you end up staying at home alone, either watching endless episodes of something on Netflix, spending hours on social media depending on the company of others virtually or worrying about how you are going to get through this financial mess. The cycle continues.

This can be even more detrimental to those who may have more impulsive money spending behaviours – and it can truly feel like you are stuck in a rut.

Money causes a wide range of problems, but we can’t live without it.

It can be an awful feeling when you can’t afford what you used to be able to, particularly support that used to help you with your mental health such as counselling, or getting to support groups etc.However, there are a few nifty ways you can save money such as cashback sites, making budgets and sticking to them and even shopping lists work a treat. If your money troubles are more severe then you can visit Citizens’ Advice Bureau or People Matters, both can help with things like benefits, debt and mental health.

Jamilla Hekmoun

Jamilla is a final year undergraduate studying Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and Vice President of the Islamic Society at the University of Exeter. After being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, she is keen on improving the understanding of mental health conditions within Muslim communities. Follow her on Twitter @JamillaTweets.

One Comment

  • Adam says:

    The understanding of what is valuable is the problem. Employment is important, but we have a lack of curiosity as a culture. We have incredible access to information, and we all have the education to engage with the world in a considered way. Money is important, but the threshold of its importance is lower than most people think. I am saddened that we don’t understand the power we have, as people capable of understanding, imagining and reshaping our environment. Even the weakest of us possesses impossible powers, but our relative cast of mind makes us feel deficient without satisfaction of communal expectations.

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