One of the possible symptoms of a mental health condition, e.g. bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, especially during periods of hypomania or mania, is overspending. Hypomania and mania are periods of over-active and excitable behaviour that have a significant impact on day-to-day life. Hypomania is a milder version of mania that lasts for a short period, e.g. a few days. Mania, on the other hand, is a more severe form that lasts for a longer period, e.g. a week or more.

Here are some simple things that can be done to help control overspending:-

  • Keep family and friends involved
    • Write down or tell family and friends how it felt when one has the urge to spend large amounts of money. In this way, friends and family may be able to support the person during that time.
  • Inform the bank of concerns with overspending and ask for advice. A bank officer could recommend one or more of the following:-
    • Limit the overdraft facility.
    • The more one uses the overdraft facility, the longer it will take to repay. If an overdraft is needed, it’s best to keep it as low as possible, e.g. 100 in any currency.
    • Set limits on the amounts of money that can be withdrawn from the account
      • One can set a personal daily limit. If there are concerns with this, a person can ask their bank to set a low daily limit.
  • Create a bank account that required two signatures.
    • A person can set up a joint account with someone they trust such as a parent, sibling or partner.
  • Consider how one uses use credit cards
    • Ask a trusted person to monitor use so that they can help the person control spending as needed.
    • If the person has more than one credit card, it might be a good idea to only keep one getting rid of the others.

These are some helpful tips to manage finances when living with a mental health condition. If you are close to someone who has a mental health condition, these tips can help in supporting them.

Jolene King is Principal Consultant of 246 King Consulting (http://246king.com). She is a trained Occupational Psychologist, experienced Human Resources professional and a Mental Health First Aider. She can be reached at jking@246king.com.