Money and mental health – where they coincide and why we care

Written by Money Empire

June 28, 2017

Besides losing your job, going through a divorce, or (let’s be honest) having kids, few things are more consistently stressful than dealing with your finances. And since money is one of the few constants that we think about throughout our lifetime, it’s something that can affect us (and our mental health) long term.

So why are we talking about mental health?

Mental health and money are without a doubt interconnected; issues with your finances can often be a trigger for mental health challenges, while your mental health can have a real impact on your financial health. We want to ensure that everyone is not only well off financially, but also mentally well off – that’s why we believe it’s time to talk about money health and mental health.

What are the issues we’re talking about?

Money and mental illness – the cycle

It’s a vicious cycle – people in debt are more likely to be depressed, and people who are depressed are more likely to get themselves in debt. Frustrating, right? Whether it’s a student with a substantial student loan debt, someone suffering from depression who is spending to try to feel better, or a working professional with a large credit card debt – this cycle can affect anyone. A study by a financial advisor at NHBS states that 40% of their clients in debt would appear to be suffering with possible depression or anxiety. Although money may not be the key to happiness, not having it at all, or having a substantial amount owing, can have very unfortunate consequences on one’s mental health.

Student loans and anxiety

Student loans, or any loans for that matter, have the ability to feel like a huge weight on one’s shoulders if not managed properly. The constant reminder of a loan can most definitely linger in our thoughts until a sense of anxiety arises. Studies by The New Zealand Union of Student’s Association show that New Zealand students are in a worse position with their mental health due to money than they were when the study was done in 2010. Not only that; from 2000 to 2014, counselling sessions for students in New Zealand rose by a quarter. So even before Kiwis have hit the workforce, they’re already worrying about their finances.

Mental health and not working

When people do hit their working life, some people are unable to work at all due to their mental health. Someone suffering from severe depression, anxiety or bipolar affective disorder may find it difficult to hold down a steady job or find themselves excluded from certain jobs because of concerns about how they would perform their duties. A 2015 Victoria University study reflects on the fact that there needs to be a shift from “safety to health”. Greater awareness that the nature of work, and the workforce, has changed a great deal over the years is vital. It is hugely important for those having trouble with their mental health to be taken seriously when it can impact on their work ethic or ability to work at all – having serious knock-on effects on their finances.

So what are we doing about it?

Money Empire are passionate about helping Kiwis keep both their finances and mental state healthy so they can build the empire of their dreams. That’s why, over the next couple of months, we’ll be sharing stories from our ‘Money and Mental Health’ series. We’ll look at different ways that money and mental health affect each other, share some real-life stories of people dealing with mental health challenges, and share some advice and tips for how to get your money and mental health working well together.

Those who are dealing with mental illness because of debt, spending money in order to feel better or unable to work because of mental illness shouldn’t have to feel alone. Help us spread the word and raise awareness by sharing these posts and your stories – let’s get New Zealand talking!

If you’d like to share your story with us, or have any questions, reach out. The hardest part is getting started, and we’re here for you every step of the way.

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