National Student Money Week 2016
National Student Money Week (NSMW) is a national campaign created and promoted by NASMA. NSMW16 will be the 6th National Student Money Week.
During the week universities, colleges and student unions all over the UK will run activities and raise student awareness of financial capability by providing information, advice and guidance about money management. NSMW also aims to promote the free advice and support available from institutions.
NASMA stands for the National Association of Student Money Advisers. NASMA aims to relieve the poverty of students through the provision of good quality advice, information and training. They are a registered charity who coordinates the sharing of information and best practice among student money advisers. NASMA also works closely with national decision makers and partners to influence student finance policy.
Do you remember going to a university open day and listening to a talk about student funding? Does your institution offer a bursary scheme or hardship fund? Have you had a problem with your student funding and sought advice from your university?
In all of these cases it’s most likely that you spoke with a NASMA member!
NSMW16: Students, Money and Mental Health
For NSMW16, NASMA has chosen to focus on the theme of Students, Money and Mental Health.
The basics to money management is balancing your income against your expenditure and not spending more than you have coming in. Easy, right? Well… easily said but not so easily done! If it was that easy no one would ever have a problem with their finances!
Managing your money is affected by learned behaviours and factors which affect how you manage your money daily, planning for future life events and dealing with financial difficulties. This is why your financial wellbeing is linked to your emotional wellbeing.
Being a student means you will likely go through various life transitions and these can be difficult to get through emotionally and financially. Leaving home for the first time, meeting new people and having to quickly learn how to balance your academic studies with your day to day life all can be difficult. Add on top of this control of your money and an expectation that you understand financial jargon and this can all become just too much to cope with. For some, the effects of these difficulties can be seen on their course, such as losing motivation and concentration. For others it’s the transition of graduating to employment that is more difficult to manage.
Where can I get help?
If you feel that you are struggling, or are unhappy, then speak to someone. Money and mental health isn’t something that people openly talk about a lot. Many find it difficult to admit they are struggling and worry about being stigmatised. It can also be easy to blame something else and ignore the warning signs that there is a problem. For some students it’s that they just don’t know who to turn to.
Part of NSMW is about making students aware that there are confidential services within your institution that specialise in helping students with exactly these types of issues.
Most universities will have a student services department and this service will offer lots of information, advice and guidance on student issues such as managing your money and managing your mental health. So while money and mental health issues may not be a regular conversation topic, the existence of these services shows you that they are common issues for students and that help is on hand.
You can find contact details for the support service at your institution (if they are a NASMA member) via the NASMA website. If they are not on this list then search your university website for student services.
How you can get involved with NSMW16?
If you would like to get involved with NSMW16 at your institution then contact your student services or students’ union to find out more about their plans for the week.
NASMA will be very active on Twitter during NSMW16; sharing information from supporters and retweeting institutions and their NSMW16 activities. You can help us spread the word via social media and engage with us using the hashtag; #NSMW16.
You can find more information about NSMW16 via the NASMA website.
Hannah Bundy is the Vice Chair of Finance, NASMA and Student Support Adviser based at the University of Cardiff