14 December 2020
Opening up about your financial concerns can improve your mental health, according to a debt management expert.
Antony Price, partnership development manager at PayPlan, a national service which provides free debt advice, says worrying about money and debt can impact your wellbeing.
He was speaking to Hayley Aley, the national Federation’s wellbeing lead, during a Facebook Live event focussing on debt and finances.
The discussion was part of the Federation’s month-long focus on financial wellbeing, and is available to watch now.
Antony, who stressed that PayPlan is confidential, said: “85 per cent of clients said being in debt has either added to or caused mental health issue including stress, depression and anxiety.
“The really good thing is that following on from debt advice, 93 per cent of those clients said getting debt help improved their mental health and their stress reduced.
“95 per cent of them felt more confident to deal with their money matters, and 69 per cent felt they could open up top other people. The more that we talk about it the better,” he added.
The 45-minute long discussion covered a range of financial issues including debt, credit cards, mortgages, benefits, and debt management plans.
Hayley said that debt management plans can also help to ease stress and anxiety for members in financial difficulty.
She said: “Members have said you take on the responsibility of day-to-day contact with debtors. That can be stressful, the constant calls, the letters that come through the door that impact on people’s mental health, their wellbeing and the stress and anxiety it brings.
“The fact that gets removed and you deal with it is such a blessing. It really helps people get back their sense of control.”
Antony added: “Quite often because of that noise, whether that’s letters, calls or the sheer concern, it becomes overwhelming and starts to impact relationships, jobs and day-to-day functioning.
“It can really impact on mental health. You can work with us, but we will handle those debts and allow you to focus on yourself, your family, your wellbeing, your job. That’s really key.”
Antony encouraged members to “go back to basics” and set out a budget for the incomings and outgoings.
“Most people who approach us for debt help have never done that before until they reach out to us for help,” he said, “The more you can feel confident about your household affairs, the more you can plan ahead for the future.
“There will be things you might look at think I can cut that back, or I can make decisions because I’m happy to forego that in order to plan for my future.
“It might be cutting back subscriptions. It might be to minimise an expense or maximise an income. You don’t know that until you back to basics.”
He added: “We’re fully aware people might be sat there worried about picking up the phone, but don’t do nothing. Take some action, even if it’s a baby step. Do something and you’ll be surprised how better you feel.
“The amount of people who feel that stress is relieved, that sharing that with somebody else really does help them. It’s incredible what a difference that can make.”