How to Support Your Clients When They’re Worried About MoneySep 14, 2022
Let’s be honest, most of us are worried about our finances these days. The cost of living has gone through the roof, our energy bills are overtaking rent and mortgage payments, and it’d be cheaper to buy gold than the weekly food shop. So what effect is all of this going to have on your clients?
Mental health professionals can expect to see an uptick in the number of people who are stressed, anxious and depressed about their financial situation. In fact, research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that a massive 77% of UK adults are worried about the rising cost of living, and it’s causing a mental health decline for 76% of those affected.
Clients are going to need your support – so, how do you help them?
Supporting clients who are worried about money
The state of public mental health was heavily impacted by the pandemic, and things are only getting worse. Few things affect our wellbeing like money worries: not knowing how you’re going to heat your home or feed the kids can be terrifying, and lead to feelings of having failed in some way. Clients who come to you with money struggles will need a helping hand to work past these feelings.
Whether your client has been made redundant, landed with an unexpected pay-out, or they’re simply struggling to cope with the increased cost of living, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. Ask them to think about what’s causing them to feel unhappy in this area of their life right now; is it impacting their relationships? If so, how?
To explore this further, encourage your client to consider what triggers their anxieties around money; are there things they could be doing to lessen some of those anxious feelings about their current situation? Would talking to friends or family members help?
It’s a good idea to reassure your clients that feeling low when they’re experiencing money struggles is completely normal: it doesn’t mean they’ve developed a mental illness; they might just be having a really hard time right now.
So, what are some practical steps you can encourage your clients to take in support of their mental health and wellbeing when worrying about money?
Practical steps for making it through financial stress
Change your money mindset
Your money mindset is how you think about finances, regardless of what you earn or have saved in the bank. This can originate from what your clients were taught about money growing up, and how money was handled in their household. If your clients have a negative money mindset, you can help them to change that. Learn more about money mindset.
Stay active, and don’t dwell
If your client has been made redundant or is currently unable to work, it’s really important that they stay active instead of dwelling on their situation. Exercising may not create more money, but it will help them to stay healthy and think more clearly. Encourage them to keep their CV up-to-date, and consider volunteering in the interim, as this will improve their job prospects.
Make a plan
Feeling out of control can cause anyone to spiral. Suggest that your client makes a plan with practical steps on working through this time in their life. There are charities who can help with the best way to handle debt if that’s a concern for your client, and organizations with expertise in financial wellness (we’ve signposted some of these at the end).
Stick to a routine
Whether working or not, our routines can quickly fall by the wayside when we’re struggling – but abandoning routine will only make your client feel worse. Encourage them to stick to their usual routines, whether that involves cooking, seeing friends, going out for walks, following a self-care regime, exercising, meditating, or simply getting up at the same time every day.
Don’t turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms
You probably support a great many clients through substance abuse, so you know how damaging it can be. When people are worried about money, they can start to lose hope – and sometimes, that feeling of despair leads them to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drink and drugs. If you can’t get through to your client from a health perspective, remind them of just how much this outlay will be contributing to their financial concerns.
Signposting your clients to support
Most people who face money worries will overcome them in time; however, things are a little extreme right now. You can support your clients with their mental health and wellbeing while they work through this challenging time, but it’s important to direct them to services such as Citizens Advice, Red Cross, or The Money Charity if they need more practical financial support.
Taking steps towards managing debt and alleviating financial pressure can help people to feel more in control, whilst giving them a greater sense of hope for the future.
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