The link between mental and financial health

Lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, paranoia, and hopelessness. When asked, you might consider these to be symptoms of poor mental health; while that’s true, these emotions are also common symptoms of poor financial health. The relationship between one’s financial and mental health is a close one—let’s talk about it.

Financial stress is more common than you think

With the average Canadian household owing $1.83 for every dollar made, it isn’t surprising that 40% of Canadians rate money as their leading cause of stress (FP Canada, 2023).  

Rising cost of living, large debts, restricted income, and financial obligations are some of the biggest financial stressors for Canadians. In fact, over 36% of Canadians say their financial concerns have led to mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression (FP Canada, 2023).

Poor financial mental health is a two-way street

People that are struggling with their finances admit that their mental health is compromised because of it. Approximately 48% of Canadians say they’ve lost sleep because of financial worries (FP Canada, 2023). For most, the thought of bills, debt, or lack of savings can easily trigger feelings of stress and anxiety.  

When people visit our offices, it’s often apparent through conversation that their mental health has been suffering due to their financial situation. Generally, the relationship between one’s debt and mental health is a two-way street and can snowball into a larger problem if not addressed.  

There are also situations where someone’s mental health may affect their financial stability. Different coping mechanisms can lead to poor financial outcomes. For example, many turn to ‘retail therapy’ when they feel stressed. This habit can negatively affect one’s savings, debt levels, and credit score. 

If someone is living with a mental illness and doesn’t have access to proper treatment, they may need to take time off work or have trouble keeping a job. This can drastically impact one’s income and ability to cover living expenses, often further worsening one’s mental and financial health. 

Tips for managing your finances to improve your mental health

There are ways that you can take control of your financial health, in turn bettering your mental health. It might seem overwhelming at first, but remember, small actions can lead to big changes.  

Put your finances into perspective 

Start by obtaining a copy of your credit report and score. To help you out, we’ve created a simple guide on how to read your credit report. Understanding how much debt you owe and to whom, will give you a better idea of your financial situation. This information will also come in handy when creating a basic budget. Laying everything out on the table might be overwhelming, but it’ll also help put things into perspective. 

Find support from people or professionals you trust 

Whether you’re struggling with mental or financial health, it’s important to know when to ask for help. Talking to a professional may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no shame in asking for help when it comes to your finances, just like there’s no shame in asking for help with your mental health. 

As Licensed Insolvency Trustees, we offer a variety of services and support systems to help you understand all your options for taking control of your financial health.  

If you’re struggling with your mental health or with a mental illness, it’s okay to bring a partner, family member or friend for support. Reviewing your debt relief options can be overwhelming, which makes having a person you trust present even more comforting. 

If you decide to visit us at Grant Thornton, don’t be afraid to disclose your mental health situation. We’re here to help and happy to follow an approach or find an accommodation that brings you the most comfort. It’s important to know that you’re not alone when it comes to overwhelming financial stress. At Grant Thornton, we’re here to help.  

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