Mental Health and Money

Did you know there is a deep, sensitive, and quite often ignored connection between mental health and finance? The Money and Mental Health institute discovered that:

  • 46% of people with debt have a diagnosed mental health condition
  • 86% people with mental health issues and debt say that debt exacerbates their mental health issues
  • People with depression and debt are 4x more likely to still have debt after 18 months compared to their counterparts
  • Those with debt are 3x more likely to contemplate suicide due to that debt

These statistics are a harsh reality that the connection is real and if both sides are not taken care of equally, there is a cause and effect that can be so dramatic that one’s life can be completely overcome by the stress levels of one or the other. What these statistics don’t show is what comes first? Is it that mental health issues activate financial burdens or stressors or is it the financial burdens that cause the mental health issues? As we all can understand and agree with, the answer is yes to both! Both factors can feed off of each other and can grow exponentially worse over time.

Consider this situation which I am sure all of us can relate to: a financial burden comes up surprisingly which causes us to have higher stress levels, then due to the higher stress comes the activation of our negative self-talk (the whole “if I wasn’t so uneducated or if I was stronger and smarter this wouldn’t have happened to me and I wouldn’t have my family in this dilemma”), then the negative self talk sparks our unhealthy coping mechanisms (maybe this is consuming alcohol, gambling, or fierce anger towards those you love), and then those unhealthy coping mechanisms make the financial situation worse and then we get ourselves in the downward spiral of repetition because why? Well that’s simple, we don’t know any better and we have not trained ourselves how to prevent these situations or better yet instill preparations in case they do arise!

The above example is when a financial crisis sparks mental health issues. But remember that a financial crisis or burden isn’t the only situation that can cause the vicious cycle to start. A relationship is another example. An unhealthy relationship causes increased stress, that stress sparks the negative self-talk (the “this is what I deserve” or “I don’t deserve anything better”) which then causes the unhealthy coping mechanisms and finally those mechanisms create unnecessary and catastrophic financial burdens or even crises. 

To conclude, mental health and money work hand in hand in a cause and effect relationship. But what can be done about it?

If you’re seeking to build wealth for yourself and your family and change your current situation, you absolutely have to confront both. Here are a few of many applications that can help:

  1. Reducing your financial stress by building an emergency fund
  2. Developing coping skills that will alleviate stress and therefore lower the risk of mental illness
  3. Consult with a financial coach or educator regarding the right financial plan to set in place to protect yourself and your family’s financial future
  4. Make a job or career change even if it is adding a part-time, spare-time, or side hustle for additional money

These steps can be absolutely terrifying if you’re attacking it alone which is why we highly suggest seeking help from both mental health professionals, as well as financial professionals like the financial experts at The Donnelly Team. They will have the specific direction and action steps for you to put into place for your future mental and financial health. 

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