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Whether you have struggled with managing money in the past, or it has never been something you have had to deal with, money concerns can really make a difference to mental health and they really should not be ignored.

Why asking for help is not a sign of weakness

This guest blog is written by Vicky Eves, she is one of the participants in our Money and Mental Health video series and also runs her own blog at IBeatDebt.com.

Whether you have struggled with managing money in the past, or it has never been something you have had to deal with, money concerns can really make a difference to mental health and they really should not be ignored.

From being concerned about whether you can stretch your bank balance to payday, through to mounting debts and red letters coming through the post, there is one key thing you must NOT do - bury your head in the sand. 

I always give the example of a homeowner who finds a leak from their pipes - they wouldn’t ignore it and muddle on through, they’d call out a plumber and get it resolved ASAP - after all, a leak can be a sign of a bigger issue, and it can also lead to many more problems such as damp and damage to the property. Why is it then that in some areas we don’t feel comfortable with asking for help?

In my opinion, part of the problem is that as Brits, we just don’t talk about money. I’m not saying you need to tell everyone you know what you earn or what your debts are, but it’s a very taboo subject in our culture. 

My story

When I was struggling financially, and subsequently going through debt management, I was embarrassed, almost ashamed, to find myself in the situation I was in. I only told a few very close people, but now as I look back on that time, I wish I had done things differently - I wish I had talked about the situation I was finding myself in, instead of burying my head in the sand and allowing it to escalate. 

After connecting with Christians Against Poverty (CAP), I became a debt management client. This isn’t necessarily the case for everyone who has money concerns, and in a lot of cases, there might just be signposting to appropriate resources or tools. The fear of what the experts might say is definitely not a reason to not ask for help - in fact, I can’t think of a single good reason not to. Everyone’s financial position is different, and this is why debt management is a very personal process, but getting specialist and personalised help allowed me to turn my life around. I dread to think about what position I would be in now if I had not faced up to the issues when I did and sought help. 

I still worry about money even now, but I gained tools, knowledge and resources to turn to when things are getting tricky. It’s not overwhelming like it used to be, and I am proud to be involved with Money Advice Service’s work on money and mental health. If sharing my story helps one person decide to access help or get some advice, then I’m fine with my story going out on the internet on such a high profile platform. I’m not saying it would be right for everyone to broadcast their money and mental health issues to the world, but in most cases, talking about your concerns and worries will help and it really could be a life-changing decision. 

How to get help

If you feel that you might need a bit of help, or just want to chat it through with someone you don’t know, here on the Money Advice Service website there are the details of plenty of money charities and organisations around where you can get some free advice and connect with someone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness - it is very much a sign of strength and the first step to getting control of your finances back!

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