The connection between mental health and finances


According to the Canterbury District Health Board, about one in six New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Mental health issues can end up being very serious and tough to deal with. For some people, problems with money can cause them to develop mental health issues. On the other hand, mental health issues can also have an impact on how other people behave with money.

How can financial issues trigger mental health issues?

While things could be great one day, unexpected financial problems can easily happen on the next. Your washing machine could suddenly break down, your car suddenly won't start, or problems at work could suddenly lead you to lose your job.

Although stressful, most people manage to take on these challenges and bounce back. However, if this stress is left alone for too long, it can eventually go deeper and cause anxiety, depression, or both. This is why it is important to remember that help is always available for when the financial issues do happen.

How can mental health issues trigger financial issues?

There are days when things can end up feeling a bit heavier than usual. You can't figure out what it is exactly that's making you feel this way. There's nothing particularly different about this day, much like the other days that have come and gone. However, one thing that you are sure of is that creeping, empty feeling inside you that just won't let go.

After a while, it can be tempting to run towards the nearest thing that can make us feel better. For many, this may be in the form of retail therapy. Whether this is online or at the shopping malls, many people relieve their ‘down days’ by shopping.

Unfortunately, these quick fixes won't make this empty feeling go away. And, if you end up relying on shopping to relieve yourself from this feeling, you can find yourself in financial hot water sooner rather than later.

Using spending as an outlet, whether it be frequently or infrequently, can leave you with the lingering issue of credit card debt or hire purchases down the line. Plus, if you have trouble paying off these debts on time, the stress can retrigger these mental health issues all over again, causing you to get stuck in a terrible cycle.

Dealing with depression

Dealing with depression can be very overwhelming. However, we can start the journey towards feeling better by doing these first three steps:

  • Accepting what we are feeling
  • Forgiving ourselves for feeling this way
  • Asking for help

Building simple, but important habits can also go a long way towards beating depression. Getting good sleep as well as regular exercise are great habits to learn and will naturally help you feel better. Being in regular contact with other people, such as playing sports or joining a support group is also a great way to escape the temptation of just keeping to yourself.

Having a simple conversation can also help a great deal when it comes to dealing with depression. However, there will be times where it can be challenging to find someone to talk to. During these times, there will always be someone ready to listen to you through the following channels:

Where to Get Help

  • 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202

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