“I was only just making ends meet because I couldn’t work, so things were difficult financially for a while. Having enough money actually does help when you are managing a mental illness. It’s one less thing to worry about.”
Mental health and financial safety are strongly linked. Experiencing a mental illness can add to financial stresses, and financial stresses can add to a mental illness.
Financial safety can bring security and peace of mind. Combined with leisure time and fun activities, it can have a positive effect on wellbeing. Being able to work and pay bills regularly can ease pressure, though not everyone is able to do that.
Mental health and financial woes are related. However, those who are well off are not all mentally well, and all those who are disadvantaged are not depressed or anxious. The way we view our financial situation is what impacts our mental health. Even someone who is regularly paying off their debts may have constant feelings of mental and emotional distress around personal finances.
Some signs that financial stress is affecting your mental wellbeing include: arguing with the people closest to you about money, having trouble sleeping, feeling angry or fearful, mood swings, tiredness, loss of appetite, and withdrawing from others. Addressing financial problems early on can reduce their impact on mental health.
We have more information on feeling safe, stable, and secure that you may find useful.
A closer look
Financial concerns are very common in Australia
Australian Psychological Society studies have reported personal finances as one of the main sources of stress for Australians. Debts and negative numbers against a person’s name can have a very strong impact on wellbeing. In some cases, anxiety and depression can be linked to financial insecurity. (Source)
Whatever your history with finances, managing money can be learned
Some strategies for improving your financial security include putting aside money for when bills come, budgeting, creating an emergency fund, opening a separate savings account, and paying essentials first. (Source)
Financial illiteracy is the main underlying cause of financial stress
Spending decisions account for a great deal of Australians’ financial stress. Financial wellbeing is a direct result of behaviours and understanding around finances. Adequate literacy and numeracy skills are needed in order to develop strong financial literacy and reduce risk of financial stress. (Source)
The main causes of financial issues for patients are known
Sources of financial issues of those experiencing mental illnesses may include debt incurred through addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling, retail therapy to manage mental illness, or work instability associated with symptoms. Erratic decisions regarding money due to paranoia or psychosis occur too. Lastly, medical expenses can add strain financially. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).