Photo by Anna Tarazevich

Contributed by Everyday Health

Although the US economy is booming and inflation rates are down, most Americans continue to feel financially stressed. Unfortunately, financial stress is a major contributor to mental illness with economic hardship linked to not just a higher risk of common depressive and anxiety disorders, but also to a four-fold higher risk of poor outcomes. This can lead to a vicious cycle because money and mental health are closely connected. 

People with mental illness are more vulnerable to financial stress as many symptoms caused by common mental illness make it hard to hold on to a job and excel at work, jeopardizing one’s ability to earn a livelihood and increase earning capacity. 

In addition, people with mental illnesses are more likely to adopt unhealthy or downright self-destructive coping behaviors in the absence of proper mental care. Impulse shopping, alcoholism, and drug abuse are some such behaviors that can worsen your finances, increasing levels of stress and the severity of illness. 

As the costs of mental healthcare can be prohibitive for people who are already crushed with crippling debt, it’s understandable why you may choose to avoid or delay seeking help. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should invest in your mental health to improve your financial situation. 

If you can’t afford to do so right now or feel like it would add to your stress, make it a point to use free online therapy platforms that give you access to qualified mental health professionals.  

6 Underrated Reasons to Invest in Your Mental Health

1. Don’t Lose Earnings On Frequent Absenteeism

Not surprisingly, reports indicate that depression and anxiety cost us about $925 billion each year because of lost productive days. This has led many organizations to invest in employee wellness programs. 

However, as an individual, poor mental health can be just as costly, if not more, because you lose potential earnings with every absenteeism and your reduced productivity makes you a liability to your employer, putting your career itself at risk. In this scenario, investing in your mental health is the smartest thing you can do as it safeguards your financial future – your ability to earn.

2. Improve Work Performance For Higher Pay

All of us experience some amount of stress at the workplace, but we deal with it and get the job done. Unfortunately, when you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic stress, body image disorders, and other common mental illnesses, it becomes much harder to cope with stressors and to continue to perform. 

Mental illnesses don’t just affect performance and productivity, but can also interfere with social engagement and creativity. When you invest in mental health, you’re also investing in your career prospects as the key to rising within the ranks and earning more is improved performance. 

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3. Reduce Overall Healthcare Costs

What most people fail to recognize is that the effects of mental illnesses are not just limited to your mind. There is plenty of evidence showing that people who are dealing with depression, chronic stress or anxiety disorders face a higher risk of physical diseases, especially chronic lifestyle conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

Even if you have decent health insurance, such conditions can dramatically increase your expenditure with higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. On the other hand, people who report higher mental well-being tend to enjoy better health and lower healthcare costs, giving you yet another sound financial reason to invest in mental health.

4. Reduce Dependency on Financial Aid

People struggling to cope with mental illness are more vulnerable to financial stress and may be forced to rely on financial aid or welfare programs. These programs can be a lifeline for anyone struggling to make ends meet. 

However, they should serve as a temporary solution if the root cause of your problem is mental illness. In such situations, getting proper mental health assistance can help you overcome behavioral or psychological problems that adversely affect your finances, reducing your dependence on aid, and giving you greater financial independence.  

5. Earn More Money

Research over the years clearly shows that common mental health problems interfere with cognitive function, impairing learning, memory, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, when you’re dealing with any kind of mental illness, you are also more likely to lack self-confidence and self-esteem. 

All of this interferes with your ability to learn more and earn more. When your mental well-being improves, it also boosts your confidence and improves your ability to learn new skills that will increase your earning potential and can lead to a promotion or a pay raise. 

6. Save More Money

Mental health has a direct influence on decision-making, including financial decisions. Consequently, poor mental health is associated with impulsive financial behaviors, such as unnecessary purchases and poor budget management. 

This leads to increased debt and added financial stress that worsens your mental health, perpetuating a vicious cycle. When you invest in your mental health, you can develop the skills to cope with stress and impulse control problems, allowing you to follow disciplined budgeting and better financial planning. Ultimately, this will help build your savings for a financially secure and stress-free future. 

Shaun DMello is a prolific writer who has worked with many health and wellness brands for over a decade. Aside from fitness, nutrition, natural medicine, and healthcare technology, he also has expertise in public health, sharing tips to cope with pandemics and natural disasters. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading a good book, curled up on a recliner, jostling for space with his four cats.