Mental health and financial hardship

Financial health and mental health are intrinsically linked. The state of our mental health and wellbeing can make it harder to get on top of our finances and can lead to experiences of financial stress which can then further impact our mental health.

We know taking control of our money can have positive flow on effects into other areas of our lives.

That’s why Financial Counselling Australia has joined forces with Beyond Blue, to encourage people to access information and support to improve their overall wellbeing. It’s never too early or too late to seek support.

Steps you can take if you’re experiencing poor mental health and financial stress

01

Safety first

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

If there is no immediate danger but you need to speak to someone urgently, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24-hour crisis support.

02

Seek mental health support and information

We all have good days and bad days. Then there are those days when something isn’t quite right, you’ve got something on your mind, you’re having trouble sleeping, or things just seem too much. Some people experience these feelings intensely for an extended period of time – it’s important to remember that support is available, and things can get better.

How much worry is too much worry?

It’s a normal part of life to feel a full range of emotions but if you’re feeling sad, worried or hopeless for more than four weeks – use this simple checklist to find out if you are affected by anxiety and depression and how to get support.

Connecting with others

If you’re looking to connect with or receive advice from others who may be going through similar experiences to yourself, you can join the Beyond Blue Online Forums.

Talk it through with Beyond Blue

Sharing the load with someone else can really help. So no matter who you are, or how you’re feeling, you can talk it through with Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit beyondblue.org.au/getsupport.

03

Start addressing your finances

The first thing to work out is what you can afford to pay. This page will show you how to work out what you can afford to pay.

If you can afford to pay something

Start paying the amount you can afford and get in touch with your creditors straight away to put a repayment arrangement in place. See below for tips on talking to your creditors.

 

If you can’t afford to pay anything

You may not be able to afford to pay anything for a little while if you have no income; are in temporary housing; or are homeless. One option may include negotiating a repayment arrangement where you make no payments for a short time while you get settled.

Call us on 1800 007 007 to go through your options.

04

Ask to speak to the hardship department of your creditors

If you are in financial difficulty and struggling with your mental health, a good place to start is the hardship department of your creditors.

Staff in the hardship department are also more likely to have the authority to consider more flexible options.

05

If you can’t agree, dispute it

If you can’t come to an agreement that you think is fair, you may have the right to access dispute resolution. These free and independent services give you an opportunity to explain how you can work with your creditors to get back on track with payments. Refer to dispute resolution.

06

Speak to one of our financial counsellors

If your problem still hasn’t been solved, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, call us on 1800 007 007 to speak with one of our financial counsellors.

A recent study by Financial Counselling Australia found that financial counsellors see a strong link between financial hardship and mental health. The good news is that once people get support from a financial counsellor, they often report an improvement in their mental health.

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