The stigma of money and our mental health

Written by Anya Rudolphy, Community Development Project Manager, East London Business Alliance (ELBA), originally posted here. 

When did you first learn about debt and managing money?

Have you ever felt stressed when adding up your monthly spending? If yes, did you feel comfortable talking to someone about it?

With the cost of living increasing and many of our East London residents still recovering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on their community, ELBA’s Connect team have been reflecting on the impacts of debt and financial instability to our mental health.

Financial stress can feel very isolating and uncomfortable for many of us to talk about. Social pressures combined with a lack of financial support can lead people to rely on payday loans, credit cards and gambling in an attempt to be perceived as financially stable.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, ELBA staff talked a lot about ways to combat the stigma related to mental health. Speaking honestly about financial stress and money does not always mean a person is looking for a hand out. By speaking more openly about it, we can help reduce the stigma and share practical and realistic ways to manage our finances.

On the back of this, ELBA is hosting a number of Financial Literacy workshops open to all community organisations and their beneficiaries.

Participants will work with a small team of corporate business volunteers on various topics including:

  1.       Day-to-day Money Management: budgeting & preparing for financial change
  2.       Credit and Debt
  3.       Pension and Long-term Savings

We aim to give participants a safe space to learn and ask questions about these topics, and leave with ideas that they can take back and consider for their daily lives.

The first session will focus on Day to Day Money Management and will be held at Bromley By Bow Centre on 28 June 2022. If you are interested in registering for this or future sessions, please reach out to


A registered charity and alliance of corporate and other partners, ELBA has over 30 years of experience in enabling successful partnerships between business and the community. In the past year, ELBA helped place over 300 people into work in London through its award-winning Employment Works programme, delivered over 12,000 business volunteers into the community, and worked with over 500 local organisations in east London.

If you’d like to learn more about ELBA, contact

ELBA’s mission is to create possibilities to bring about positive change in London by channeling the wide-reaching resources and influence of the private sector to address key areas of need.

To stay up to date with the latest news, opportunities and success stories, please sign up to receive ELBA’s monthly newsletter, here.

Mental Health Awareness Week: “Darkness doesn’t last forever”

In England, 1.4 million people were in contact with NHS-funded mental health services at the end of January 2021. Mental Health Awareness Week from 10-16 May promotes good mental health for all and raises awareness of mental health issues.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, the Seetec Group is hosting support sessions for people looking for work, in work or an apprentice to promote health and wellbeing by offering support and advice across its services.

This is part of the employee-owned business’ commitment to create an inclusive society where individuals, employers and communities across all the regions of the UK and Ireland can thrive and fulfil their potential.

Seetec recognises that positive mental health is fundamental to this through its experience in supporting thousands of people every year to find employment, increase their skills, and for some, help them move away from past criminal behaviour.

The support sessions include:

  • Wednesday 12 May (2.30pm):  Positive Mental Health for Learning and Work (Employer Support Session) – ideal for line managers, department heads and HR specialists looking for actionable insights into improving employee health and wellbeing. This is particularly useful for organisations with apprentices or new recruits who may need additional support to build resilience after a particularly challenging year.
  • Friday 14 May (9.30am): Positive Mental Health for Learning and Work (Apprentice / Employee Support Session) – ideal for apprentices, parents/carers and new recruits, but would benefit anyone looking to build their mental resilience at work.

Seetec’s mental health support not only focuses on the communities it serves but also on its own doorstep. Group Chief Executive, John Baumback signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge a year ago, outlining the Group’s commitment to tackling stigma and discrimination against mental health in the workplace.

Seetec has trained 248 Mental Health First Aiders across the Group – providing online training during Covid-19 restrictions – to understand and support anyone in the workplace facing a mental health issue. Seetec has organised health and well-being sessions ranging from yoga and walking challenges to mindfulness and online ‘listening ear’ services.

John Baumback, Seetec Group Chief Executive, said: “After a year in which many people have faced social isolation, job insecurity and major life upheavals as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to provide re-skilling opportunities, employment support and mental health support to make sure no-one is left behind and to assist both economic and social recovery.”

Matt Tallyn-Hancock, 20, from Liskeard, Cornwall, joined the Army at 16 but was discharged a year later because of mental health issues, leading him to spiral into depression.

He worked in several building, landscaping and bartending jobs but his mental health declined until he was sectioned and admitted to Bodmin Hospital.

Matt was determined to get back on his feet but Covid-19 lockdowns and the side-effects of his medication left him struggling to cope, compounded by rising debts, rent arrears and the threat of eviction.

He was referred to employment and health specialist Seetec Pluss under the Covid-19 recovery JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) scheme, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund.

Seetec Pluss Employment Adviser Demelza got to know Matt through regular phone calls with him discovering what he wanted to do with his life and checking on his progress.

Matt said: “Seetec Pluss called me every day and continuously complimented me on how well I was doing, which was a huge boost. It’s great to have positive reassurance to keep you going.

“I passed my CSCS test which meant I could get back to working in construction which I’ve always been interested in. I started work as a Labourer with a construction agency. I really enjoy my job; no day is ever the same. I get to look at a project such as a house being built and think ‘that part is there because of me.’

“I just feel an overwhelming sense of joy, I’ve pulled myself out of a hole and I can finally start planning my life. It just goes to show that darkness doesn’t last forever.

No matter how bad a situation you get into, there’s always help out there and I’ve got nothing but appreciation for Seetec Pluss.”

Sean Mawdsley is a Senior Health Practitioner for Seetec Pluss in North West England. A registered nurse, Sean supports those on the Work and Health programme who may have both mental and physical health issues.

He takes a holistic view of individuals’ well-being, working through ten different aspects from hobbies and social life to sleep, self-esteem, mindset and health in supporting them to move forward.

Sean explained: “You have to look at the whole person. If they are going to move towards working, you have to start by getting the foundations correct by looking at their personal needs.

“If they are lacking in energy, there may be a psychological cause like poor sleep or depression, but there could be a physical cause such as anaemia or a vitamin deficiency.

“One client said to me ‘You’re the only person that’s ever listened to me.’ It’s important to show an interest, to show the individual that you care. Often they have been passed from pillar to post.”

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week Mental Health Awareness Week and about Seetec’s services

For more information and links to register for the webinars can be found on this page


Photos: Matt Tallyn-Hancock

Notes to Editors

Mental Health Services Statistics from the NHS published March 2021.

The Work and Health JETS Programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund.