Money and Mental Health
CTO and Co-Founder Alex talks about mental health, money and how Plum is here to help.
Plum is a finance savvy chatbot that uses AI to help you manage your money and be better off. In ‘Savings Squad’, we feature all the best tips and tricks to help you make the most of your money. You can also join our Facebook group of people saving with Plum for more tips and advice from real users.
It’s a widely used statistic that 1 in 4 of us will struggle with our mental health in any given year, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. Mental health issues hit us all in different ways and no person’s experience is exactly the same as another’s, which is important to remember, but many people do experience common triggers and it’s probably unsurprising that one of these is money.
Like mental illness itself, the impact your finances have on your overall wellbeing can be very different from person to person. Some experience episodes so bad that they’re unable to work through them. While many companies are extremely understanding and supportive of those with mental health issues, some types of work still don’t come with automatic sick pay. Reducing your income because you’re ill in any shape or form can be nerve-racking, but when you’re already struggling with a mental health condition, it can make things a whole lot worse.
“9 out of 10 people with mental health issues spend more when they’re feeling unwell, usually on impulse during a period of mania, or as a means of cheering themselves up when feeling low.”
Others may find that spending money makes them feel better. According to research by The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, 9 out of 10 people with mental health issues spend more when they’re feeling unwell, usually on impulse during a period of mania, or as a means of cheering themselves up when feeling low. Unfortunately, the “high” is short lived, and when it wears off, many find themselves racked with guilt about their purchase, having realised it wasn’t sensible. It can be a vicious circle.
Mental illness can also affect how you manage your money. Some people find that their anxious feelings render them incapable of performing tasks like answering the phone, making calls to strangers, or opening envelopes. When many communications from banks, energy companies, and others, still come through by post, feeling too anxious to open your mail or answer your phone can result in you becoming unaware of bills that are due and consequently falling behind with payments.
Some of us just feel despair at our financial situations. It can seem like everyone else has everything all worked out — they can afford amazing holidays, they’re buying their dream houses… and when you’re sitting there carefully rationing to make sure you can get as far as payday, you just can’t fathom how they do it, and end up feeling lousy about ourselves, like we’re failing at adulting.
If any of this resonates with you at all, we feel you, 100%. Struggling with a mental health issue is not fun. At all. But, there are ways you can get better, both by helping yourself, and seeking help from the experts.
Obviously, we are not experts at solving mental health issues. Mind are, and their website is crammed full of useful information and sources of help that’ll remind you that however bad you think it is right now, you’re absolutely not alone.
But, we can help in our own way. Research has shown that physically getting your hands on your cash can release endorphins that boost your mood. Counting the loose change in your pockets regularly, or setting yourself a cash allowance so that you routinely get your hands on physical money, are just a couple of way you can do this.
Another is Plum — the personal finance guardian that takes the stress out of saving and managing you money. Helping you get that little “fist bump moment” every few days, and rest easy knowing it's taken care of.
Plum connects to your bank account, analyses your transactions, and sets a small affordable amounts aside for you every few days. It will recalibrate based on your spending habits, so being left short at the expense of savings won't happen. It will build up a rainy day / hoiday fund for you in the background and you don't have to do a thing.
Whenever you need it, you can get the money you’ve saved back by typing 'withdraw' into the messenger. It will be back in your account within 24 hours. It’s all automated, and you’ll only hear from us when we save something for you, or when you get in touch with us. You can even turn the notifications off it you would rather not see them.
Because Plum is a robot run through Facebook Messenger, you don’t have to talk to a human being unless you want to. That said, if you do want to speak to a human, Plum can put you through to someone real. Even if it’s just a chat — we got you.
*Remember, if any of the writing in this article resonates with you for any reason, get in touch with Mind. They really are the experts on all things mental health.