Financial wellbeing

Financial health and mental health are linked.

Financial challenges can cause significant stress, which can impact our mental health and wellbeing. Similarly, the state of our mental health can make it harder to get on top of our finances.

What is financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing is about having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life. There are some things that affect our finances that we can’t control, like rising cost of living or unexpected expenses. But there are some things we can control. 

Every day we make choices with our money. Each of these decisions, small and large, impact our lives, and these decisions also impact what we call financial wellbeing.

What are the signs of poor financial wellbeing?

  • Delays recognising or acknowledging a problem, such as ignoring emails from banks or not reading bills 
  • Delays seeking help 
  • Prolonging unhelpful behaviours like overspending
  • Withholding information from others, including our closest family and friends, and health professionals. 
  • Withdrawing socially from family, friends and work colleagues 
  • Self-medication and unhelpful behaviours like alcohol and substance misuse. 

What factors contribute to financial wellbeing?

A variety of factors influence how people respond to money and mental health challenges, including stigma, shame and our social relationships. These include: 

Financial stigma

Shame, a sense of failure and reluctance to speak or seek help about financial challenges due to concerns about what other people might think.

Social comparison

Pressure to keep up financially with others and a sense of isolation when this isn’t possible.

Mental health stigma

Reluctance to speak/act on mental health challenges due to fear of discrimination or shame about their condition.  

What can you do to improve your financial wellbeing?

  • Acknowledge the link between financial wellbeing and mental health and think about how this affects you personally.
  • Get in control of your finances by setting time aside for money matters – try and get into the habit of doing this regularly.
  • Don’t delay – the earlier you get on track with your finances the better.
  • If you need a helping hand, ask someone close to you who will offer help without judgment.
  • Make a plan and take a step-by-step approach, acknowledging each task ticked off your to-do list as an achievement
  • Seek help from a free, financial counsellor available through the National Debt Helpline.

What financial wellbeing support is available?

Crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services 000. Other services include: