Time to Talk Day is quickly approaching and there are plenty of ways to get involved and raise awareness of support for mental health-related problems including the impact debt can have and how best to support people struggling with both their finances and their mental health.
Time to Talk Day, on Thursday 2nd February, highlights the importance of creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. The campaign is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and has become the nation’s biggest mental health awareness event in the country.
At PayPlan, we understand that mental health and mental illness can be closely intertwined with debt. Problem debt can be a major worry for many people and being in a poor financial situation can trigger or add to mental health problems.
The following could be signs someone is suffering with their mental health:
- Feeling sad, down or like nothing matters
- Not able to perform daily tasks
- Eating too much or too little
- Frequently tired, low or no energy
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs
- Extreme mood swings, yelling, fighting
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on-edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Hearing voices or believing things that aren’t true
How can you support somebody who might be facing mental health struggles?
Express concern and offer a helping hand
Letting someone know you’re worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you. Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.
Act as you usually do together
Do what you usually do – behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words and a space to talk, whether by phone, messaging or in person. You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later. Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less ability to speak for themselves.
Understanding the support available
If you need help or are concerned about your health, then get in touch with a medical expert. While we can help to reduce your money worries, here are a number of specialist mental health organisations that may be able to support you:
- Campaign against living miserably (CALM) – is leading a movement against suicide. Speak to a member of the helpline team, call 0800 58 58 58
- SHOUT – the UK’s first 24/7 text service, which is free on all major mobile networks. It’s a place to go to if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. You can get in touch by texting 85258
- Samaritans – for anyone who needs to talk to somebody anytime they like, in their own way, and off the record – about whatever is getting to them. They don’t have to be suicidal. Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rethink Mental Illness – if you need practical help on issues such as mental health, community care, welfare benefits, medication or living with mental illness, contact Rethink Mental Illness by visiting their website to find your local branch
- MIND – advice and support for anyone who is suffering from mental health issues (depression, bi-polar, anxiety, suicide ideation, psychosis). Call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Look after yourself
It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Be kind to yourself and take some time to relax or do something you enjoy. You can also be there for them in other ways, like cooking for them, going for a walk or watching a film together. A chat may come more naturally if you are doing something together first.
Understanding the link between mental health and debt
Debt problems and poor mental health can often be closely intertwined. We understand 82% of people contacting us for help with their debts said money worries were impacting their mental health at the time. So, as you can imagine, helping people to improve their mental health is a subject very close to our hearts.
Sam – who now works as an adviser for PayPlan helping others – explains how he struggled with debt himself in the past, how he managed to clear his debts and improve his mental health.
“I gave myself sleepless nights, from trying to ignore the [debt] problem and not doing anything about it – which quite honestly was due to pride and embarrassment,” Sam explains. “My mental health was affected too as the situation caused me to suffer from severe depression, anxiety and stress.
“My life had changed in just a few months, and I was really struggling – especially as my nan passed away during this time too. I approached the doctor and started getting help. I’m well on the road to recovery, but I think it’s really important to encourage people to speak about their mental health.”
How can we all make a difference on Time to Talk Day?
At PayPlan, we’re supporting the campaign through our social media presence and urging people to engage in conversations about mental health and debt. This could be at your local community centre, your sports club, your workplace and your family or friends. You don’t need a degree in listening to lend an ear.