Financial stress could be harming your health

Psychological studies have reported personal finances as one of the main sources of stress for Australians1 and it could be impacting our health.

Financial stress and mental health

These stresses have been magnified due to the current economic environment. Financial stress can affect your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships. You may find yourself arguing with loved ones about money, have difficulty sleeping, feel angry or fearful, and have mood swings, experience tiredness, muscle pain, loss of appetite, lower sex drive and withdrawing from those around you.

Salary Finance’s financial wellbeing research2  explored the relationship between mental health and other stress factors. The greatest difference in mental health was between those that were stressed about their finances and those that do not. Those with financial stress were:

  • 8 times more likely to feel anxious and be prone to panic attacks
  • 9 times more likely to be depressed and find it difficult to carry on with life

These differences are startling and make a compelling case for the relationship between mental health and financial wellbeing.

Sometimes it can be hard to see a way out when you have too many debts and not enough income to cover them

If you’re afraid to answer the phone or open mail in case it’s a reminder or final demand for payment, then you’re very likely not okay. The good news is that there is help available and it’s important to ask for it.

Reach out for help to a friend, colleague, family member or GP. Many organisations offer access to free counselling services through the Human Resources department or you can call Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or visit the Black Dog Institute The Federal Government’s Head to Health website has information about resources and services available to help with mental health.

There are ways that you can start to help yourself to deal with financial stress. These include: writing down your worries; eating a balanced, healthy diet; being honest with your family and how the financial situation might affect the household budget; drawing up a budget if you don’t already have one; contacting us at Heritage Bank; and contacting a Department of Human Services social worker (132 850).

Financial counsellors can help you to get your finances back on track

They can speak to your creditors for you and make payment arrangements, as well as look at your income and help you make a budget that enables you to live as well as start to pay off your debts.

Financial counsellors can be accessed for free through the National Debt Helpline (1800 007 007). They’re non-judgemental and offer reassurance, and practical help.

They may be able to assist you by:

  • Assessing your financial situation – including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities.
  • Providing advice on how to negotiate with your creditors, government agencies or other business providers.
  • Negotiating directly with your creditors in certain circumstances. (Creditors are often more willing to negotiate when they know a financial counsellor is helping you).
  • Providing advice about what options, rights and responsibilities you may have.
  • Referring you to other services you may need, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services.

Financial literacy to keep away from financial distress

Head to Health suggests that improving your financial literacy may be the surest way to keep away financial distress. At Heritage Bank we’re keen to help if you feel you need help to learn more about your finances and the products we have available for you. Just come in to your local branch or call us on 13 14 22 for a chat. We want you to feel in control of your finances, and armed with a plan if things seem a bit overwhelming.

Related tips 

Carefully consider investment tips from finfluencers
Have you ever stumbled across a ‘finfluencer’ while scrolling social media and wondered if you should follow their advice? Here's what to be careful of.
Current scams in Australia
Learn about current scams in Australia and how to avoid falling victim.
How to save more money
Save more money, reach your goals sooner and feel more in control of your finances with our online guide.

Related products

Was this helpful?