Mental Health

Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW

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How to cope with the financial crisis

If you are feeling stressed about money you are not alone. Many people have ­recently lost their jobs or are worried about being retrenched. Others have seen their hard earned investments collapse. Many are struggling to make ends meet.

Some people may feel guilty or blame themselves, but it’s important to remember that it is not your fault. What is happening to you is happening to many others. Some common reactions to financial hardship are:

    • Tiredness and loss of interest
    •  Difficulty sleeping
    • Loss of appetite or sex drive
    • Impaired memory or concentration
    • Anxiety, anger, irritability
    • Mood swings
    • Withdrawing from others
    • Loss of direction, feeling powerless

In some people, financial stress combined with other underlying factors can lead to ­depression, anxiety disorders and ­behaviours such as over-eating, over-spending, ­alcohol or drug abuse and family conflict.

Try to be patient. Recovery from any ­significant loss takes time. However, there is a lot you can do to take control of your situation. beyondblue offers these suggestions:

What you can do


Learn a relaxation technique such as meditation
  •  Write down your worries and use ‘structured problem-solving’ (SPS) strategies to find practical solutions.
  • Get support from family and friends and talk to them about your concerns.
  • Exercise regularly and eat well. ­Exercise is a great stress buster.
  • Avoid unhealthy coping behaviours such as drugs and alcohol, smoking and comfort eating as they only make it worse in the long run.
  • Try to keep things in perspective and focus on the positives. It’s not all bad.
  • Become a volunteer. This can provide a purpose and social interaction. Ring Volunteering Australia: (03) 9820 4100.
  • Take control of your finances. Draw up a budget. Speak to a financial counsellor, an accountant or
    Centrelink on 13 23 00.
    A relaxation technique can help release stress. Learn meditation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi and practise daily.

When to see your doctor

You should never be hesitant to seek ­professional support. Your GP is here to help and will not judge you. See your doctor if:

  • Your emotional distress is severe or ­persists more than 2-3 weeks
  • You find it hard to function and carry out day-to-day tasks
  • You are using alcohol/other drugs to cope
  • You have self-harm or suicide thoughts

beyondblue has released a comprehensive booklet, Taking care of yourself after retrenchment or financial loss. To order a free copy go to or ring 1300 22 4636.