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Protect Your Mental Health During Stressful Financial Times

Do you, or have you felt stressed about having enough money, getting or keeping a job, and the overall state of the economy? You’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, money, work and the economy are the three top cited reasons for stress among Americans.

It is important to recognize that many life or social circumstances, such as financial insecurity, poverty, homelessness, can have an impact on your health and behavioral health. For example, research by economists has shown that people who have experienced long-term unemployment (longer than 25 weeks) are 3 times more likely than people who have been employed throughout the past year to experience mental health issues for the first time.

While each of us deal with stress differently, prolonged periods of stress can disrupt one’s physical and behavioral health. More specifically, it can substantially increase the risk of developing problems such as:

In order to protect your mental health, it is important to be aware of the signs that financial problems may be adversely affecting your emotional or mental well being:

  • Persistent Sadness/Crying
  • Excessive Anxiety
  • Lack of Sleep/Constant Fatigue
  • Excessive Irritability/Anger
  • Increased drinking
  • Illicit drug use, including misuse of medications
  • Difficulty paying attention or staying focused
  • Apathy - not caring about things that are usually important to you
  • Not being able to function as well at work, school or home

While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to managing stress, there are some common coping techniques you can try:

  • Trying to keep things in perspective - recognize the good aspects of life and retain hope for the future.
  • Strengthening connections with family and friends who can provide important emotional support.
  • Engaging in activities such as physical exercise, sports or hobbies that can relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Developing new employment skills that can provide a practical and highly effective means of coping and directly address financial difficulties.

If these problems persist, you may need additional help. Try talking to your friends and family, healthcare provider, spiritual leader, school counselor or community health clinic. If you need help finding mental health or addiction services and resources in your area, visit the Mental Health Services Locator and the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.

Remember that your behavioral health is essential to your overall health and that financial difficulties can have an impact on your emotional well being. Maintaining and promoting your health and behavioral health is a good start to handling tough financial worries. To learn more about the impact of employment and the economy on behavioral health, please visit the ADS Center.

To learn about other free resources to help you no matter what your financial situation, sign up for our e-mail list or visit our page.