Local charities join forces to improve financial and mental health ahead of Christmas

Local advice charity, Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding, and mental health charity, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, have announced that they are joining forces to launch a campaign aimed at encouraging people to look after their financial and mental health this Christmas.

The Money on Your Mind campaign highlights that due to the pressures of the festive season and amid the continuing cost of living crisis, Christmas can be a hard time for people. As part of the campaign, the charities are reminding everyone that support is available, whatever you are going through.

Tracy Wharvell, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding, said:

“We see from our service users how money issues can impact on self-esteem, relationships and general wellbeing. Equally, we have seen how rising costs has made it difficult for people to ‘make ends meet’. Increasing debts cause people to feel anxious and worsen their mental health problems. Come and talk to us, we can find a way forward and help you tackle these issues.”

Emma Dallimore, Chief Executive at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, said:

“Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle. We’re joining forces with Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding to help people have a happier and healthier Christmas. It’s also a real opportunity for us to come together to remind people that support is available, both for your financial health and mental health.”

As part of the campaign, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding have shared their 12 tips for coping this Christmas:

  • Plan ahead with a budget – Get started with your Christmas planning early. Make a realistic budget that covers gifts, events and self-care. Stick to the budget the best you can. The Mental Health and Money Advice website has a free budget planner which might help.
  • Talk money – It can be hard to talk about money. However, research by the Money and Pensions department shows that being open and honest with others can help ease stress and allow you to make better financial decisions. 
  • Set maximum spends – Talking to people about money can help you manage expectations together. You may be able to agree on a maximum amount to spend on gifts with your friends and family. You may be able to agree to only make free or low-cost Christmas plans.
  • Try to avoid comparisons – The Christmas you see in adverts and on social media often doesn’t reflect reality. Try to avoid feeling pressured into spending more than you can. It may help to take a break from social media if this is affecting you.
  • Look for local low-cost events – Local organisations, such as charities and community centers, may have low cost or free events you can take part in. They may also be able to help with gifts and food.
  • Don’t forget to pay existing bills – Christmas might feel like the top priority during December but remember it is most important to make sure you still pay your existing bills such as rent/mortgage, utility bills and food bills. 
  • Be careful with Buy Now Pay Later schemes– If you use these schemes to split payments over time, be aware that they are unregulated and do not offer the same protections as other forms of borrowing. You can incur late fees, they can affect your credit score and unpaid debts may be passed on to debt collection agencies.
  • Have a plan to repay debts – If you are borrowing this festive season, think ahead to January and whether you will be able to repay what you owe on time. Include this in your budgeting. Make sure you’re claiming any extra money or support you’re entitled to, as this can help in the long run.
  • Shop safely – If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is. To avoid disappointment and financial issues, be wary of scams especially whilst online shopping. Find more tips on this in our November blog.
  • Start saving for next Christmas –Think about what worked this year and what you might do differently. If possible, put a little money aside each month to help next December.
  • Be kind to yourself – Money worries can have a big impact on our mental health. They might make us feel concerned, embarrassed, or angry. And they can affect our self-esteem too. Try not to blame yourself for your situation or how you’re feeling about it. It’s important to remember that everyone has the right to feel well.
  • Access support – Along with many other local and national organisations, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and Citizens Advice can offer you support. If you have a money, housing, consumer, family or debt issue then use our self-referral form or national advice line: 0800 144 8848.

The online campaign will run from now into the the new year, with an additional campaign launching in mid-January.

For more information on how to access support from both charities, please visit www.hullandeastridingcab.org.uk/money-on-your-mind-12-tips-for-christmas or contact info@heymind.org.uk or comms.team@hull-eastridingcab.org.uk