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Managing Stress

If you’re feeling like you really can’t cope, having thoughts of harming yourself or feel suicidal, it’s important you seek help straight away.
  • If you have taken an overdose or seriously injured yourself, call 999 immediately.

  • For help and advice, you can contact your GP or an out of hours service. (You can find your local GP’s phone number on the NHS Choices website).
  • Alternatively, you can call NHS Direct for more help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 0845 4647.
  • There are also special helplines that you can contact where trained advisors will be able to talk to you in confidence – for instance the Samaritans run a 24/7 telephone service on 08457 909090
As the credit crunch has taken hold, more people than ever are struggling to make ends meet. The impact this has reaches far beyond the obvious implications of needing to cut back on spending; it can affect your self esteem, relationships with those around you and even your health. Recognising the link between money worries and mental wellbeing is really important, and if you are beginning to feel that it’s all getting too much don’t hesitate to seek help.

Feeling low or anxious is often a completely normal response to money worries, and you may find you are able to deal with these feelings yourself by taking steps to regain control of your financial situation – look at our Managing Your Money and Dealing with Debt sections for more information on money problems and what you can do to resolve them.

It’s important to recognise however, that there are also more serious problems which may develop as a result of the pressure of financial worries. If you find yourself unable to eat, sleep or concentrate, or if you are losing interest in day-to-day life and struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you may be depressed. The NHS Choices website has an online self assessment questionnaire which you can use to see whether you could be suffering from depression.

Financial worries can also be a major contributing factor in the breakdown of relationships. The pressure and stress of money worries may cause difficulties between you and your other half, and often people may stop communicating as effectively as they try to keep things from their partner so as ‘not to worry them’. Some advice is offered here as a starting point for couples in financial difficulty to look at.

Facing up to the pressures of financial worries and asking for help can feel difficult, and men may be particularly reluctant to do so as they feel they will be branded a failure for being unable to care for their families. It’s important to remember that the problem will only get worse if you try to ignore it, and suffering in silence will increase the amount of pressure you are under and may lead to you suffering serious anxiety or depression, which will make it even harder for you to deal with your financial problems.

Men may also be less likely to seek help for mental problems if they do fall ill. According to Mind’s YouGov survey in 2009 although men and women were equally likely to suffer from mental health problems, men are much less likely to be diagnosed or undergo treatment. The sad effects of this are reflected in suicide statistics – 75% of people who take their own life are men.

There are many places you can go to for help however, as well as plenty of things you can do to help yourself. Usually the first port of call should be your GP, who will be able to advise you and if necessary refer you on to someone who can give more specialist help. Experts suggest the following top tips which you can try for dealing with anxiety, stress and depression:
  • Exercise regularly – Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medications as it releases mood enhancing chemicals in your brain. 30 minutes a day should be your target, but every little helps.
  • Look after yourself – Make some time for yourself and do something you enjoy. Go for a walk in the country, take some time to relax and read a book or listen to music, paint your nails or watch your favourite film or TV program. Make an effort to do something positive every day.
  • Eat well – There can be many reasons why people neglect to eat properly. You may be feeling down and think you can’t be bothered cooking, or you’re so stressed that you don’t have time. However eating a healthy diet is key to all round good health. Missing meals can make you feel irritable and tired so ensure you eat regularly.
  • Keep up a routine – If you are not working or have recently been made redundant, one of the hardest things to deal with may be feeling as though you have nothing to do with your time. Mooching round the house all day in your dressing gown may have a negative impact on your mood and feelings of self-worth.
  • Speak to friends and family – Visiting a professional counsellor may feel too extreme for some people. Friends and family can provide a great support network and may be more sympathetic than you expect.
For more information on credit crunch stress, have a look at this article from the NHS.

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