Can We Talk About Money And Mental Health?
TThe first time I encountered financial hardships and its impact on mental health I was observing how my parents dealt with their money issues. “It was like the less money we come across the more problems we see”.
From conversation, activity, and mood swings my parents shut off when they faced financial hardships. In my understanding of their experiences today, their struggles mirrored a financial stress-induced depression. However, they never referred to the struggle as such or made the connection to how the stresses of money could shape our mental health. They simply were trying to survive.
Depression, like many other mental illnesses, is caused by varying factors including physical, biological and environmental factors. As research suggest when it comes to money, psychologists agree that personal finance is a contributing factor of depression.” For many of us we may carry a heavy anxiety tied to our finances.
As a result we stress over how we may be able to pay our bills, maximize our income to make ends meet or to eat and sleep with ease. If anyone knows how it feels being broke and stressed they understand when your pockets are low they feel like the heaviest pockets in the world.
And to be honest, it’s a conversation many of us have in the back of our mind but don’t know how to bring it to the table. Whether it’s because “the struggle” is not something we happily want to address or the perceptions of people regarding what it means to be broke is a sensitive subject. There exists many articles telling people why they are broke and blaming individuals for their economic hardships without factoring in the multitude of reasons people experience financial challenges.
They skip over the anxiety people have surrounding money and how their upbringing plays a part in the relationship individuals have with the dollar. If anything that should be addressed.
When you factor in the systemic challenges babyyyyyyy we’ll be talking for days about how race and gender factors in to your coins and social mobility.
For Black women and men money and finances play an integral role in their stress and mental health disorders.
Now, I feel like my observations of money and mental health have become more apparent within my circle. When you grow up poor in a low-socioeconomic household, weigh your options and become inspired to go down a path that is seemingly able to provide you social mobility, you ask yourself why the hell does it seem like you are a broke Millennial even when you “did everything right” to climb that ladder of success? Perhaps it takes time.
Nevertheless, I know a number of individuals who I spoke with in the past few months that in some way, shape or form their mental health has been impacted by the dolla dolla dolla bill y’all.
1. The person pouring from a half empty cup, trying to support their family and can’t afford
2. The fresh college graduate struggling to find a good entry level paying job
3. The individual battling STUDENT LOAN DEBT
4. The hustler milking three jobs to keep their head above water
We know of them because they exist in our everyday lives, they each have a story and chasing the bag is a topic that is universal no matter where you are from. The thing is sometimes that bag may have a hole, the emptiness may blow you to another dimension, and it may feel like you’re walking with a ton of bricks on your shoulder.
Here, there is room for discussion. While we highlight the importance of mental illness we must address how financial hardships can induce depression and provide solutions and resources to assist those through their hardships.
We must remove the barriers that prevent us to talk comfortable about money and be willing to understand that the struggle is real but like any struggle it is possible to make it through.
When it comes to money we don’t just want to keep our head above water, we want to build a damn boat that doesn’t sink.