How Your Financial Health Supports Your Mental Health

2019-06-19   minute read

Lifestyle Debt

In my work as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, I see firsthand the unfortunate effects financial crises can have on debtors’ mental and emotional wellness. People often come to my office complaining of sleepless nights, constant worry, and feeling like they’re at the end of their rope. That stress and turmoil strains their relationships, affect their performance at work and takes a lasting toll on their physical health — and it’s easy to see why.""


Feeling Like a Failure

We live in a culture that assumes that hard work and ‘good’ decision making are all that’s necessary to live a wealthy and prosperous life. That ‘putting our nose to the grindstone’, will somehow make everything else fall into place. However, the real world is rarely so black and white. There are countless reasons why people wind up in the cycle of debt — and few of them boil down to a choice or a lack of effort. Unexpected expenses such as a job loss or costly home repair can catch us off guard. Trusted advisors encourage us to take on more credit than we can afford. The unrelenting desire to keep up with the Jones’ is a difficult urge to temper, and our public education system has done a historically poor job of preparing us to effectively manage our finances. A key characteristic of good financial and mental wellness is recognizing every human is prone to err and things don’t always turn out like we want. The measure of our success is not weather we encounter setbacks, but how we prepare for, respond to and persevere through them.

Pressure to Pay Up

We navigate countless financial responsibilities every day. We’re accountable to paying for housing, food, several utilities, communications and multimedia services, bank fees, taxes, education, debt and more. Each of these creditors expect payment to arrive on time and in full every month and employ skilled professionals whose sole purpose is to make sure that happens by every legal means possible. In times of financial difficulty, the pressure of keeping up can be the worst kind of mental gymnastics. How do we choose between putting food on our child’s plate or having our wages garnished by the government? Or between having heat and electricity in our home or having collections agents call our house multiple times of day? A pressure vessel without a blow off valve risks a catastrophic end. Understanding when it’s time to seek release is necessary to prevent a difficult situation from becoming and impossible one — whether that’s seeking the help of a qualified therapist, financial planner or Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

Losing Hope

Life is ultimately about growth. We largely predicate our happiness and optimism on the belief that our journey will trend toward the better. We desire to learn and grow in our careers, deepen and expand our relationships with friends and family and build wealth and abundance as we get older. When we experience financial difficulties, all those dreams may become suffocated to varying degrees. If we’re distracted at work, unable to give our undivided attention to our loved ones and watch our net worth trend deeper into the negative, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a continued slide toward rock bottom. So, we resign ourselves to accept the situation and give up hope that it will ever get better, regardless of how hard we try. Having a positive outlook is easy when things are going well. But it’s most important when they aren’t. Despite appearances, there is almost always hope for relief — if not a complete turnaround. Just as there are effective treatment options for mental health disorders, there are legal options to achieve meaningful and permanent debt relief.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

This is probably one of the most overused clichés in the English language — probably because it’s true.  Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. Not being able to make ends meet, constantly balancing competing financial obligations and navigating the complicated and high stakes world of unsustainable debt is a significant source of depression and anxiety for Canadian consumers today. A healthy relationship with money — including knowing the resources available to help in times of financial uncertainty and having the budgeting skills to navigate one’s living expenses — is integral to balanced mental and emotional wellness in a chaotic and expensive world. It may not eliminate the non-financial causes of mental illness, but it does provide the breathing room needed to focus on the other factors.

Life-Changing Debt Solutions

If you’re worried your debt is negatively impacting your mental health, contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a Free Confidential Consultation today to learn more about your options. You may qualify for a Life-Changing Debt Solution, such as Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal — which would halt any current and future collections actions and help you become debt free within 9 to 21 months of your initial filing. We may also be able to provide referrals to other programs and organizations who can help address the root causes of your financial troubles, help you better manage stress and find a sustainable route to long-term health and happiness. No matter your situation, there is always hope for a better future. Let MNP help you take the first step on that journey today.

Based out of Winnipeg, Laura Ryback is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and Vice-President at MNP LTD. To learn more about how MNP Debt can help, contact our local office at 204.336.6167 or toll-free in Manitoba at 1-877-231-6167.

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