Mental illness can have lots of serious, debilitating effects on your life. No matter what illness you struggle with, it can often start to have a knock-on effect, not only on your emotional and physical well-being but also your financial well-being.
Here are some of the different ways mental health can affect your finances and what you can do about it if you are struggling.
Lack Of Education
Oftentimes, those who struggle with their mental health will also struggle to complete their education or even getting accepted into college or university. This affects adults with learning disabilities especially. A number of factors can contribute to why someone with a mental illness may miss out of gaining their education. Anxiety and depression can prevent young people from leaving the house and learning disabilities may lead to bullying or trouble completing work. With the right school and support available, however, lots of progress can be made and there are plenty of people with mental illnesses that are succeeding academically.
Many people with mental health conditions struggle to work, but often, employers aren’t sympathetic to this. This can prevent mentally ill people from working full-time, or from working at all. For example, a man with OCD may feel the need to take regular breaks to complete a compulsion, or a person with anxiety may feel unable to talk to clients. This can have a real effect on your finances as it may prevent you from pursuing better employment or asking for pay raises.
Lots of progress is being made in breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health disorders, and so it’s important to talk to your employer if you do have a mental health disorder and see if you can find compromises that will help you to complete your work.
For many mentally ill people, it can be really challenging to concentrate for long periods of time, especially for those who have been diagnosed with an attention disorder such as ADHD. This can prevent you from working for long periods of time or doing certain jobs that need a lot of attention and concentration and sometimes, unfortunately, lead to the person with the mental illness getting fired.
Difficulty Finding Employment
Many mentally ill people will never need to mention their illness to their employer, which prevents them from discrimination, but for some, it’s unavoidable, or their employer will inevitably find out. This can be difficult for you to deal with if your employer or potential employer finds out because it can make you feel very exposed and vulnerable. Unfortunately, it can also lead to discrimination. Although it isn’t technically allowed, the social stigma surrounding mental illness still exists and employers aren’t necessarily immune to it. This can lead to mentally ill people getting turned down for jobs that they are otherwise fully qualified for.
Organisations are working hard to break down mental health stigma and prevent discrimination, so if you feel you are being discriminated against or treated unfairly in the workplace, there are steps you can take. You can find some of the top organisations here.
Social anxiety and depression is a very common problem. Almost everyone will feel some form of social anxiety at some point in their life. For some people, it can become a real problem and start hindering their everyday life in big ways. For those who struggle with it, it can become difficult to interview for jobs, ask for pay-rises, and make friends with your co-workers. Living with anxiety can be severely debilitating and this can prevent you from progressing in your career, which has a knock-on effect on your finances.
Difficulty Taking Care Of Finances
For many mentally ill people, it can be very difficult to take care of and maintain finances. Basic tasks such as budgeting and building up savings can become increasingly difficult, especially for people who suffer from conditions such as binge-eating, OCD, depression, addiction, or psychosis. This isn’t helped by the fact that we are rarely ever properly taught how to handle finances while in education, so we often have to teach ourselves.
What Can You Do About It?
Luckily, if you have a mental illness and you are struggling with your finances, there is still a lot of resources and help available to you. Websites like Mental Health and Money Advice offer plenty of guides and tools to help you get control of your finances and help you to budget and save properly.
If you have a particularly debilitating mental health disorder and you are finding it difficult to work and earn money, there are government programs such as the personal independence payment and employment and support allowance available to support you financially. These offer you financial support if you can’t work and extra help so that you can work if you feel able to.
One of the most important steps you can take to help yourself financially if you have a mental illness is to get the help of a professional, who can help you deal with the issues.