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Financial Stress

How can financial stress impact mental health?

  • Feeling helpless or worthless because of your current financial situation
  • Being in debt and not knowing how to move forward
  • Having suicidal thoughts because of your financial worries


Most people have money troubles at some point, but if your financial worries are starting to take over your life, you should talk to someone about how you’re feeling.  The CALM helpline is available from 5pm to midnight to chat about whatever you’re going through. 

Because money affects so many things, when we’re struggling financially it can impact all aspects of our lives. Money is tied to things like responsibility, perceptions of success, how we socialise, and how we work, which can make it even more difficult to cope with.  No matter what you’re going through, remember money troubles are temporary. While things might feel overwhelming, there is always a way forward.

How does financial stress feel?

Financial stress is a broad term, which means there is no one way to experience it. Depending on what you’re going through, you’ll have different responses and emotions. No matter what your situation, there is a solution.







If you’re experiencing financial stress you may feel some of the following

  • Anxiety to find more money 
  • Shame and worthlessness
  • Like you’ve failed
  • Worried about you and your family’s future
  • Panic
  • Like there’s no way out of your situation
  • Physical symptoms like bodily tension, palpitations or headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

While things might feel overwhelming, there is always a way forward.

Where can I find help?

  • Talk to CALM from 5pm to midnight everyday. Our professional helpline workers are there to talk and to help you find ways to move forward. Calls and webchats are free, anonymous, non-judgemental and confidential. 
  • Outside of these hours, call the Samaritans on 116 123 
  • Contact your GP for an appointment
  • Find free financial support here
  • Gambling support with GamCare
  • Debt support with StepChange or PayPlan

Dealing with financial stress

Whatever your money problem, there is an answer. The first step is to find the support you need. That may be in the form of a chat with a CALM advisor, a meeting with a financial advisor, contacting a gambling support organisation, or getting medical support from your GP. 

How to Ask for help

  • Friends and Family

Talking about money is often the thing we least want to do with those closest to us – it’s uncomfortable, we get it. Sharing your financial stress with a trusted loved one is a good first step in figuring out how to move forward. Everyone has had money worries at some point in their lives, so don’t be worried or ashamed. Just speaking about your problem will help you put it into perspective, and from there you can figure out a plan and what to do next. The more we get comfortable talking about money, the less it will impact our mental health. 

  • Financial Advisors

In financial crises, sometimes you need help from someone who knows their stuff. There’s jargon, there’s maths, there’s call centres – it can be a lot. While we all deal with money everyday, knowing the ins and outs of it can be confusing and overwhelming. Talking to a financial advisor will help make things simpler, and you’ll be able to put together a plan to move forward with whatever it is you’re struggling with. Find out more about getting free financial advice here.

  • Mental Health Professionals

When you’re experiencing a financial crisis, sometimes the stress can be more than one person can handle alone. If your financial situation is impacting on your mental wellbeing, or you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, talk to someone about it. 

  • Support Groups and organisations

If your financial stress comes from an addiction like gambling, drink or drugs or from debt, there is help available. Millions of people have been in the same situation, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Find out more about gambling support here, additional support here, or debt support here. 

Talking about financial stress

It can be difficult to talk about money worries with your friends, family or a medical professional. Here’s some ways you can start a conversation around how you’re feeling: 

“I need to talk to you about how I’m feeling. Things are tough, and I’m really stressed about money… “ 

“I need to talk – I’ve been struggling with [ ] and think I might need some financial advice.”

“You might have noticed I’ve not been around so much lately. I’ve been finding things difficult, and my money problems have got out of control. I think I need some help.”

Header illustration by Alice Bowsher


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