Worried about the rise in the cost of living?

There has been a steady increase in the number of adults facing financial worries due to an increase in the cost of living.

Anyone who buys food, pays bills, has a mortgage, buys petrol, has to pay for childcare or anything else that needs to be paid for may be finding the cost of living increase a financial worry.

With the cost of living crisis likely to worsen, farmers, business owners and consumers can expect fuel, energy and food prices to increase putting pressure on households throughout Northern Ireland. Farmers are also facing increased animal feed, fuel and fertiliser cost increases which will have an ongoing impact on the local farming, food and related sectors. Russia and Ukraine are two of the major exporters of fertilizers and grain and the ongoing conflict will have a major impact on the farming community and further down the line with anyone who buys food.

Marie, director of Ballymena Samaritans stated: “Volunteers are always available if you are struggling with financial worries or the challenges of life in general. You may not want to worry your family, friends or work colleagues so talking to someone you don’t know may be easier. Samaritans volunteers are trained to listen without judging and will support you as you work through your feelings and the challenges you are facing. You do not have to give your name. Whenever you need support, even in the middle of the night, a volunteer will be available to listen in total confidentiality. Contact us FREE on 116123 or e-mail [email protected] Samaritans always treat you with respect and understanding. We don’t tell you what to do but give you space to work through all your options.”

If you are facing increased financial worries or if you are struggling to make ends meet it is wise to seek help sooner rather than later. Take a realistic look at your finances, prepare a budget – list your income (after tax) and all of your outgoing expenses and be honest with yourself as you assess what you really need to maintain your lifestyle. After paying for rent/mortgage, food, heating and anything else you need to “live” take a hard look at all of your other expenses and cancel anything you can live without. If you are struggling with budgeting the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or other organisations can offer assistance.

Marie added: “Everyone has challenges in life - No-one’s life is perfect. The more you open up about your thoughts and feelings and recognise that the stresses faced during everyday life affects everyone differently the easier it may be to understand and accept. How you handle stress is unique to you as a person so you should not compare your personal coping strategy with anyone else. Admitting you need help is a strength and something to be admired. Samaritans volunteers offer you a safe space to explore all of your options and we are there when you need us.”

Ballymena Samaritans will be raising awareness of the service they provide at a stall at Ballymena Agriculture Show today (Saturday 18 June).

Samaritans has eight branches throughout Northern Ireland which can be contacted FREE in confidence, 24 hours a day by phone on 116123 or via email [email protected]