People with poor mental health often engage in either manic spending, comfort spending, social value spending, or nihilistic spend, leading to them amassing sizable debt. Consequently, many of them are unwilling or unable to seek financial assistance/advice as they see their struggles as a personal failure.
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Attitudes Towards Money & Finance
- People struggling with mental health also tend to struggle with financial management due to a lack of or low motivation. Furthermore, there is a link between financial behavior/attitudes and negative emotions/thoughts. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, those dealing with bipolar disorder may have “reduced understanding and problem solving abilities, especially during periods of acute illness,” making it impractical to become a “good” consumer.
- Some citizens with PTSD have to deal with acute memory concerns, making it troublesome to manage security details (e.g., online banking information, PIN numbers) and resulting in costly mishaps, including late or missed bill payments.
- A survey of 5,500 individuals with mental health problems crafted by Money and Mental Health Policy Institute revealed that 93% of participants spend more of their money whenever they are not mentally fit. These respondents claimed that they spend more money due to certain psychological motivations, as opposed to a material need, while some do it as a means of self-medication.
- Among those suffering from bipolar disorder, 99% spend more of their money when they are dealing with poor mental health. However, 55% of them state that they always spend more during these periods.
- Comparatively, 94% of those with anxiety disorder and 95% of those with depression spend more money whenever they are not mentally well. Meanwhile, 97% of people with a personality disorder and 96% of those with psychosis or schizophrenia spend more money during a period of mental unwellness.
- People with mental health concerns typically engage in various forms of spending. These include manic spending, comfort spending, social value spending, and nihilistic spending. Manic spending is common in those with bipolar disorder and involves “irrational spending during the manic or ‘high’ phase,” while comfort spending is typically utilized as emotional support to improve low moods.
- Social value spending is common in those who have a feeling of guilt due to the impact of their struggles and often purchase presents or offer money to improve their self-esteem. Nihilistic spending is common in those with PTSD and depression, and it is bolstered by nihilistic perceptions, including believing that one’s life is meaningless.
- Oftentimes, individuals with mental illness apply for new credit during periods when they are mentally unwell that they usually would not apply for. Additionally, they seek temporary relief, sometimes in the form of retail therapy, that brings them momentary pleasure but leads to additional financial concerns in the future.
Attitudes Towards Financial Advice
- Individuals suffering from social cognition issues are often hesitant to obtain advice services, causing minor concerns to intensify as they are left unresolved.
- According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s chief executive, Helen Undy, the double stigma surrounding finances and mental health makes it hard for individuals to discuss their financial problems and attain assistance. This is a concern as around 46% of individuals that are in debt report struggling from mental health issues.
- Dr. Jed Boardman from the Royal College of Psychiatrists states that those with depression or anxiety find it difficult “to keep things in perspective” and view debt and mental health problems as a personal failure, causing them to avoid speaking out if they are facing a crisis.
Issues Related to Their Personal Finances
- As stated earlier, up to 46% of individuals that are in debt report struggling from mental health issues.
- There is also a connection between income level and mental health. In the United Kingdom, 73% of citizens residing within the country’s lowest household income bracket claim to have endured mental health issues at some point during their life. Those suffering from existing psychiatric concerns have a higher risk of experiencing financial inequality, while also being less likely to be employed.
- Individuals with poor mental health are about three times more prone to financial difficulty, and one in four of these individuals are dealing with problem debt.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession the containment measures have brought on are assured to result in severe consequences for individuals’ mental health both short and long term, including those already suffering from poor mental health. It is predicted that if the economic effects of the pandemic mirror those of the 2008 financial crisis, the volume of individuals with poor mental health could increase by about half a million.
- Concerns regarding affording food, housing, and heating, along with employment/economic unpredictability and job loss, could be consequential and may even lead to a spike in suicide rates, including among those with poor mental health.
- Over one-third (32.66%) of adults in the United Kingdom are perturbed about their personal finances during the ongoing pandemic, including their ability to pay their bills and debts. Up to 25.85% of those that are unemployed are unable to properly cope with the stress it has brought them.