May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there is a clear connection between financial wellness and mental health. Financial problems are a major source of worry and anxiety for many people, and can lead to mental health struggles. If you’re worried about money, then you’re not alone! Here are some ways that financial issues can affect your mental health:
- Stress. Money worries can be a major source of stress, and chronic stress can have a negative impact on mental health, and even physical health.
- Anxiety. Financial problems can lead to anxiety about the future, and about being able to meet basic needs.
- Depression. Financial problems can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, which can contribute to depression.
- Substance abuse. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol, or other addictive behaviors, to cope with financial stress. You are not alone, and there are resources available.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY 1-800-487-4889, also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, is a confidential, free, 24/7/365, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
- Suicidal thoughts. Financial problems can be a major risk factor for suicide. Please reach out for help AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you are having suicidal thoughts.
- If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals. The Lifeline supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.
If your finances are negatively affecting you mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, there are a number of things you can do to improve your mental health, such as:
- Talk to someone. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or financial professional who can help you cope with your financial problems and develop a plan to improve your financial situation. Getting involved in your community can help you to feel more connected and supported, which can also buffer the effects of financial stress.
- Seek professional help. If you are struggling with mental health problems as a result of financial stress, it is important to seek help from a trained professional. A therapist can help you manage your stress, anxiety, or depression.
Take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. These things can help improve your overall mood and well-being, putting you in a better position to be able to manage the stresses in your life.