In our community, mental health and finances are often treated as separate domains, but the undeniable truth is that they are intricately connected. This article sheds light on the significant impact finances can have on our mental health and emphasizes the need for a holistic approach to address this correlation.
Let’s explore the challenges individuals face and how our organization, Exceeds Expectations, Inc., is working to bridge the gap between finances and mental health.
Trigger Warning: Mental Health
Please be advised that the following article discusses mental health and its intersection with financial challenges. It explores topics such as stigma, despair, and the impact on an individual's well-being. The content may be distressing or triggering for individuals who have personal experiences or sensitivities related to mental health issues. Reader discretion is advised. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, please seek professional help or reach out to the mental health helpline at 1-800-273-TALK.
The Burden of Financial Instability
To help illustrate we are going to be using a fictional character – Janelle.
Jannelle works hard for her family, but as she comes home, unpaid bills and mounting debt overshadow any hope for a stable future. The constant struggle to make ends meet fills her with stress and anxiety, leaving her sleepless and worried. The shame she feels isolates her further, making it difficult to ask for help. Jannelle yearns for a way out, trapped in a cycle that seems impossible to break.
Maybe you relate to Jannelle or have a Jannelle in your life? The burden of financial instability goes beyond mere numbers on a balance sheet. It weighs heavily on the minds and hearts of individuals and families, often causing a cascade of negative effects on mental well-being. Mounting debt, uncertain job prospects, and the constant struggle to make ends meet cause a constant cycle of stress and anxiety. The fear of not being able to provide for oneself or loved ones can be overwhelming.
The stigma associated with financial challenges can further isolate individuals, making it difficult to seek support or share their burdens with others. Many individuals experience financial shame because they believe that as adults, they should possess all the necessary financial knowledge, expecting money to effortlessly fall into place, and viewing their financial struggles as a reflection of personal inadequacy. We are here to help you recognize that this is not the case.
You are not alone. Like our founder, Marilyn Chappell, says, “No one's life has been all sugar and cream”. Don't be afraid to reach out. Find someone you trust enough to be honest about your situation, doesn't have to be someone who can fix your problems or offer financial help, just talking over your worries can help you make sense of what you’re facing. We are always here to help!
Overcoming this stigma requires a collective effort from society to promote understanding, empathy, and support. Here are a few steps that can help address this issue:
Encourage open conversations: Create safe spaces and platforms where individuals can openly discuss their financial challenges without fear of judgment or shame. Foster an environment that encourages empathy, active listening, and support.
Provide resources and access to information: Ensure that individuals have access to accurate and helpful information about financial management, budgeting, and available support services. This can empower individuals to take control of their finances and seek appropriate assistance when needed.
Support networks: Establish support networks, both online and offline, where individuals facing financial challenges can connect with others who have had similar experiences. These networks can provide emotional support, advice, and practical solutions.
The Influence of Finances on Well-being
Introducing our next fictional character – André. André has been dealing with financial instability for a while but is now starting to feel the strain of financial constraints ripple through various aspects of life, affecting self-esteem, relationships, and overall satisfaction. With limited resources and mounting bills, he finds himself having to make difficult decisions between essential needs, such as food, shelter, and healthcare, which causes more stress and anxiety.
This cycle of financial difficulty and mental health restricts access to vital mental health resources to support those who need them the most. This includes therapy, counseling, and medication all out of reach due to financial limitations. The lack of support and treatment options can lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration.
It can become difficult to focus on things that bring joy to life like relationships, personal growth, and pursuing meaningful goals. There is no shame in this. We do not want anyone to feel trapped and uncertain about their future. Here are a few ways we can actively combat this in our community:
Education and awareness: Increase public understanding of the complex factors that contribute to financial challenges and how they can impact mental health. Promote awareness campaigns, workshops, and educational programs to help reduce the stigma surrounding financial difficulties. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institutes' research presents us with ideas of how we can start doing so in our own county.
Collaboration between sectors: Encourage collaboration between financial institutions, mental health organizations, government agencies, and community groups to address the interconnectedness of financial instability and mental health. By working together, these entities can develop comprehensive solutions and support systems. If you are interested in partnering with Exceeds Expectations, please feel free to contact us.
Policy changes: Advocate for policies that prioritize financial literacy programs, affordable housing, job training, and mental health support services. Policy changes can help alleviate financial burdens and create a more supportive environment for individuals experiencing financial challenges.
Exceeds Expectations, Inc.: Bridging the Gap
Recognizing these challenges, we are dedicated to bridging the gap between finances and mental health in our community. We have adopted a holistic approach that encompasses financial psychology, financial literacy programs, 1:1 coaching, and providing resources for affordable mental health services. By acknowledging that financial stability is an integral component of mental well-being, Exceeds Expectations, Inc. strives to empower individuals to exceed expectations in their lives.
Join us here in promoting open conversations, reducing stigma, and providing individuals with the tools and resources they need.