Lessons learned – what we know now about money and mental health

Mental health - couple with good finances
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Over the past month, we’ve been talking about money and mental health – looking at how they affect one another, telling personal stories, and looking at how you can keep your money, mental health, and wellbeing in great shape. It’s certainly been a journey, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. As a way of reflecting back, we’ve put together our top learnings from this series:

Your employment and financial status affect more than just your bank balance

Getting your first job as an adult – isn’t it great? Newbies to the workforce, like graduating students, can look forward to being able to pay bills without stressing, earning more than the weekly spend, and not worrying about “the future” (yet). After all, they’ve got a job, they’ve got no responsibilities – there’s plenty of time, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case! Many graduates have already incurred what, to many, is a frightening level of debt – that of the student loan they needed to get that education. The good news is that most graduates get a job quickly, and earn a higher income than non-graduates, according to this study by Education Counts. However, others aren’t so lucky. Even once you’ve cleared your debt, a growing number of people find it difficult to get or hold down a job because of stress-related conditions, and this can lead to a classic “chicken or egg” scenario. Mental health issues could mean not being able to work, leading to having no money, which potentially creates more mental health issues. Find out more about that tricky cycle in the first blog post of our series.

There are heaps of reasons we spend money – not just need!

Living in a consumer-focused society, where everything that is desirable has a price tag, can have a pretty big impact on your wallet and your mental health. When we’re exposed to these messages on a daily basis, the urge to spend can become irresistible. Sometimes we spend too much because we want what others have. Other times we do so because we’re unhappy, and want to cheer ourselves up. But spending money we don’t have causes more problems, such as depression, fear, guilt, stress, and a feeling of inability to cope… Not great! We take a deeper look at this in our ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ article.

 

You can take back control of your finances

There are heaps of ways you can get back in control of your finances and stop that aspect of your life from having a negative effect on your mental health. From budgeting, to preparing yourself for if the worst happens, to restructuring your debt, little steps can help ease the burden significantly. If you’re keen to talk about how you can do that, feel free to get in touch. Or check out our look at how to break the money/mental health cycle from earlier in the series.

It affects everyone

We are hugely passionate about helping people stay mentally and financially healthy, and we wish that this series didn’t even need to exist. But hearing stories like Cam’s one of how sportspeople are particularly affected by mental health issues caused or exacerbated by financial worries shows us that this is a seriously widespread issue and no-one is excluded.

We might not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but we hope this series has helped open your eyes a little to how money and mental health are linked – and what you can do about it. It’s certainly opened our own eyes!

 

If you are struggling with depression or other mental health challenges, please talk to someone. Check out these organisations if you need help.

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