How to address both anxiety and money worries

Published on:

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is anxiety. Sarah Murphy shares free evidence-backed tools to help you address the anxiety caused by money worries and the financial issues that can be caused by mental health problems, whether you’re a creditor or healthcare provider.

Sarah is our Health and Social Care and Mental Health Policy Lead. She works with the sector across the UK on initiatives that will help embed financial wellbeing alongside physical and mental wellbeing. She also has a focus on mental health, working on a range of resources that help address the joint issues of mental health and money.

How are money worries and mental health linked?

Money worries and mental health problems can be inextricably linked. We know that experiencing money problems is stressful, which can have a negative impact on our mental health. We also know that some symptoms of mental health problems can mean making decisions or managing money is more difficult, which can then lead to money problems.

How many people find it hard to talk about money worries due to mental health issues?

Over the past few years there has definitely been greater awareness that it’s important to tackle money worries and mental health issues together. However, we know that 81% of adults across the UK avoid talking about money and this increases to 91% for people who have also experienced a mental health problem (1).

There’s still a lot of embarrassment, guilt and shame around talking about money, which can make it hard for people to get help.

This barrier to accessing help with money is a big driver in why mental health is a theme throughout the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing. We also encourage a focus on the financial and mental wellbeing benefits of talking about money each November during Talk Money Week.

Anxiety and how it can affect money management

Feeling anxious or worried is a normal human emotion. Sometimes being worried about something can be helpful. For example, if you’re worried about missing a deadline, it can make you more focused. And sometimes people have money issues that they are right to be worried about, for example, if they are at risk of losing their home, or having their fuel supply cut off.

The symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • trouble concentrating
  • insomnia  
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • palpitations.

Sometimes anxiety symptoms can mean dealing with a money issue can be difficult or impossible. For example, if you’re struggling to concentrate and make decisions, understanding your bills or letters –  or even the guidance you’ve been given – is more difficult.

Practical ways to support people struggling with mental health and money worries


If someone is struggling with both their mental health and money, it’s important to listen and be supportive. Just talking about the issue can be helpful in the first instance.

It can be difficult to navigate the boundaries of your role: health or mental health experts who want to support patients or clients with the impact of money worries may not have the knowledge to signpost to trusted financial resources, and money guiders may not be acquainted with the right healthcare support available.  

The important thing from a service user or customer’s perspective is that they could probably benefit from help from both sides. Whichever angle your role is coming from, remember to address both the mental health and the money.

You could ask if they would like some help for both their money issues and also for their mental health. If they do, you can signpost them to trusted sources of support.

Signpost to trusted money and mental health support

Examples of trusted sources of support can include local and national services:

You can also always suggest someone speaks to their GP.

Use MaPS resources to support money and mental health conversations

At the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), we have developed resources in partnership with health organisations to support you, whichever sector you’re working in.

For creditors

If you are a financial services creditor, utilities provider, local authority  or any other organisation that has customers, we’d recommend you take a look at our Mental Health and Money – Guidance for Supporting Customers. It sets out six areas you could look at to be able to provide better services and support to your customers who may be struggling with their mental health.

The guide was supported by a number of mental health charities across the UK and gives creditors some ideas of initiatives they could implement and lists organisations, tools and resources who can help you.

Access the Mental Health and Money guide.

For health and care professionals

For health and care professionals, we worked with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to create a free eLearning module about financial wellbeing. Although the evidence base and resources are from England, the module offers UK-wide applicability.

It explains the links between our health and money and suggests taking a Very Brief Intervention approach to conversations about money with the people you care for. If you can ‘Ask, Assist and Act’ and signpost someone to support for their money issue, you will also be supporting their mental health and overall wellbeing.

Access the learning for freeOpens in a new window on the All Our Health learning site.

For mental health professionals

In Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 we launched a new tool for mental health professionals across the UK to help you feel more confident having conversations about money.

Developed in partnership with the NHS, the tool sets out a range of questions a mental health professional can ask to explore any issues a service user might be experiencing about money. Depending on the nature of those issues, there is also then a range of national services, tools and resources that can be shared.

Access the Money in Mind toolkits for each nation.

For primary care workers in England

If you’re working in primary care and seeing a lot of patients who are worried about money and it’s impacting on their health, you can check out our guide. It sets out how to employ a social prescribing link worker who can give money guidance.

We worked together on this with the National Academy for Social Prescribing. The guide sets out three ways you can use the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (in England) to embed money guidance within your primary care offer.

Access the guide at The National Academy for Social PrescribingOpens in a new window website.

Key takeaway

Taking a pincer approach to addressing both mental health and money worries and getting people to the right kind of support should have the joint effect of improving both their financial and mental wellbeing.


  1. Source: Money and Pensions Service survey of 3,000 UK adults, September 2022.
Sarah Murphy headshot

Published by:

Sarah Murphy, Senior Health, Social Care and Welfare Systems Strategy Lead