There is a vicious cycle combining money and mental health - quite simply, worrying (about money in this case) makes mental health worse, and poor mental health, makes managing (money in this instance) harder.
Although I am taking money as the example here, the example can be extended to many areas - just substitute money for 'work', 'relationships', 'health' and many more. In particular though, the money cycle is one which can have a self-destructive path which is far more challenging to escape from.
In this brilliant article by MIND they analyse this, bringing in real life examples of how people's reactions to worry and money set them on the path of destruction.
A few key issues, which is a list far from exhaustive include :
- Time off work through sickness
- Impulsive decisions (through hypomania)
- Spending to feel better
- Anxiety around finance (not opening statements as they might contain bad news - ignorance being bliss)
- Feeling compelled to do a job you don't want
- Losing motivation to focus on your finances
- Spending of any sort leads to anxiety (even though it may be perfectly ok to do so)
- Unable to properly prioritise spending and budgeting
- The impact on relationships (hiding the truth, not being able to socialise, living a life of lie on credit)
The attached article gives some handy suggestions of where to start, yet to many, words just seem to be words. A key way forward is to have someone to talk to, to act as a conscience, to support, guide, challenge and help. Someone who cares about the outcome for YOU, not just how the outcome affects them.
Being aware and being accountable, whilst they may sound like challenges, can actually give someone the power back to manage their own finances again, effectively.
The first thing is to talk, which is a huge challenge (for men in particular) to hold your hand up, admit you are finding things difficult, and ask for help. Few people ever turn down those asking for help, it is built into our make-up all the way back to cave man times. Despite that, there is still a massive reluctance to ask, and that, as we all too frequently see, leads to tragedy.
In the past 4 years, I have seen 3 friends take their own lives (from the same beauty spot in Cornwall. One was suffering from PTSD and bullying at work, which led to his financial worries, the next, also had money worries but didn't confront them. The third, we still do not know why, but what we do know, is that he did not know where to turn, or who to talk to.
This is why I write about these things, why I work to promote awareness of the impact of money worries on mental health (especially in men), and why I want people who do not know where to turn to reach out, ask for help, and take that first massive step towards easing the burden they are carrying around silently.
Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.