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Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can be a source of unhappiness

It’s well documented that mental health and money troubles share a close link. Figures from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute show nearly three in ten people with mental health problems had debts between £2k and £20k during the pandemic.

It is often said that money alone cannot give you happiness, and that is certainly true. But money can definitely be a source of unhappiness and potentially contribute to mental health challenges for those who find themselves in financial difficulty.

Campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week play an important role in tackling stigma around mental health, yet people are also reluctant to talk about money, which means those suffering from stress due to debt or other financial worries often try to deal with their problems on their own.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is isolation and loneliness, something the pandemic brought us all closer to. With a cost-of-living crisis upon us, it is more important than ever that people aren’t left to face money issues alone which risk spiraling into mental health issues.

Advisers reduce anxiety and fear of the future by showing people a clear path they can feel confident about

Financial strain is a big burden for people to carry and is not easily fixed. Like most causes of anxiety, it is a fear of the future. The first step, whatever the scale of someone’s financial wherewithal, is to build a proper financial plan to help them feel in control of their finances.

That’s why good financial planning, including household budgeting knowledge, offers a route towards reducing poor mental health. Advisers reduce anxiety and fear of the future by showing people a clear path they can feel confident about.

That often starts with people understanding their outgoings and expenditures and trying to make sure they always have enough set aside to cover essential costs for at least a few months in case they lose their main source of household income or experience some other financial shock.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have that financial buffer in place, making them vulnerable if their finances take a turn for the worse. This can easily lead to strain on someone’s mental health, especially if they are under pressure to support themselves and a family.

Government-backed services such as Money Helper, which is free to use, as well as charities like StepChange or Citizens Advice are critical services for people struggling with financial concerns. Just giving people an opportunity to talk about their financial issues can often be the first step to solving a problem.

Workplace financial wellbeing and money advice initiatives can have a positive impact on the financial lives of employees

Shockingly, a survey last year by The Center of Financial Capability revealed that 96% of teenagers are worried about money daily, and over half of teenagers are set to be in debt by the time they are 17. For younger people especially, the workplace has a significant role to play to offer the tools and resources to allow them to feel assured, secure, and engaged with their money and savings.

Workplace financial wellbeing and money advice initiatives can have a positive impact on the financial lives of employees and their overall wellbeing at a time when younger people are coming into work with more debt than ever before, without knowing who they can turn to for help.

Recognizing that nobody is immune to financial strains, we launched a financial wellbeing and advice service for all our employees last year. The service focuses on delivering financial education to employees to help them make informed decisions about their financial circumstances or determine whether they should get financial advice. As part of this, our colleagues can access a free consultation with a qualified financial adviser.

Financial wellbeing and good mental health go hand in hand. If you experience positive financial wellbeing, then it is good for your mental health and good mental health helps us manage our money better.

Paul Feeney is chief executive of Quilter

Quilter is offering free webinars for financial advisers during Mental Health Awareness Week, visit Quilter’s There for you website to register.

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