So often the actions and impacts of financial counselling are immediate, and focused on tangible metrics – sorting out the most pressing issues first; negotiating with creditors, finding support payments and concessions, and so on – that we don’t get a lot of time to hear about what happens to the less tangible metrics like mental health and happiness months later.
We are touched to be able to share with you a client reflection some months after they were supported by financial counsellor, Margie Tickner. Margie assisted this client with a waiver around 6 months ago.
Margie and the client had a recent discussion in which they dissected how the waiver assisted them in hindsight, rather than how they thought it might affect them when they were applying for the waiver.
‘My financial situation prior to receiving financial counselling was having a big impact on my mental health – the stress of having credit card debt over my head would consume me with anxiety. I didn’t have the physical solutions to resolve my debt, so I was trapped within my circumstances, which was really defeating as I felt there were no solutions in sight. Feeling trapped in this debt-cycle brought on depression, and feelings of failure.
Since my debt has been cleared, I have been able to afford and attend therapy on an ongoing basis, allowing me to tackle my trauma from family violence experiences, which had a ripple-on effect to my credit card debt. This is the first time I have been able to focus on my own mental health and well-being and has gotten me to a point where I no longer need anxiety medication. I have more clarity and presence in my everyday life as I’m not subconsciously dealing with stress.
Not only am I now able to process past experiences within therapy, I can also deal with issues presenting in my present day life. I had previously been so overwhelmed by financial and emotional stress that I didn’t attend to any of the tasks I needed to – such as applying for parenting orders. I have now started the process and believe I can undertake this task.
There are regular moments where it just pops in my mind that I don’t have that debt anymore and a sense of relief and gratitude overcomes me. I have options again and find myself thinking “I can do life as single mum and I will be okay.”.
I have a newfound education around credit and my own personal finances. I am more accountable to my money, not only creating a budget but knowing I can stick to it within my income. If there is a need for credit in the future, I know I will be better informed and confident in the process and my capacity.
A final point I would like to make – individuals experiencing family separation can experience multi- faceted stressors. Children take precedent for many during this period, but I understand just how integral it is to look after myself when external stress and pressure is high – including my financial health – so I can tackle the challenges as they arise.’
It is so heartening to hear this story of financial empowerment and seeing the knock-on effects to mental health and confidence from Margie’s client. Our thanks to Margie and the client for taking the time to sharing this with us!