Although “money” and “mental health” both start with the letter m, they have traditionally been seen as distinctly different aspects of life.
And the clearest evidence of this is found by heading to your local library.
First, go to the financial management section, and bask in the glow of rows upon rows of books about budgeting, cutting costs, negotiating a raise, filing for bankruptcy (for more information on this head to charleshuberlaw.com), and the list goes on.
No, it may not be the most exciting stuff in the world. Nobody’s going to write “50 Shades of Tax Savings”.
But it’s important stuff, nevertheless.
Then, head over to the mental health section (or whatever it happens to be called in the library), and you’ll see more rows upon rows of books about personality types, dealing with guilt, overcoming grief, and so on.
Many of these books are life-changing, and a few special ones are life-saving.
But what you typically won’t find — at least, not until a few years ago — was a book (or video or website or anything) that captured the fact that, in the real world of day-to-day living, poor financial health and poor mental health do not exist in separate silos.
They are often integrated and can manifest in what experts are calling money-induced depression.
According to psychologists, severe and ongoing money-related stress is both a contributing factor to, and an ongoing driver of, clinical depression.
Of course, there can be (and often are) other issues, including physical, environmental and biological factors.
But money is not just an important piece of the depression puzzle: it can be the biggest and most daunting one. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that money-induced depression can be acknowledged, addressed and treated by qualified healthcare professionals, such as licensed counsellors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and so on.
Yes, family and friends might be able to provide some support — and if so, that’s wonderful. But the point to remember here is that money-induced depression is not minor, and has nothing to do with superficial spending habits.
It is real, and can be quite serious — which means that professional help is necessary. And the sooner the better.
Before wrapping up, I’ll share another piece of advice that could help you avoid an immense amount of pain and suffering that you (and everyone around you) certainly does not deserve.
Seeking qualified help for money-induced depression — or any other kind of mental health concern or challenge, whether it is money-related or not — is not, I repeat NOT, a sign of weakness.
On the contrary, it takes a great deal of courage and strength to reach out to a professional (or to a trusted family member or friend who can facilitate getting the help you need).
But I assure you, the effort is more than worth it. About a million times more, actually.
That’s a pretty good return-on-investment, isn’t it? Perhaps I should write a book…