The link between money and mental health is undeniable.
Emotions are inherently entangled with finances, like the joy from getting a bonus or the stress around tax season. But on a larger scale, this interrelationship can be a debilitating obstacle in the way of holistic financial and personal wellness.
In fact, 73% of Americans report finances as their number one mental health stressor, beating out other common factors like work, current events, and family. And this stress doesn’t live in a vacuum — it actively affects financial behavior and experiences, like putting off paying bills or overspending.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute emphasizes that this is a vicious cycle, wherein financial anxiety exacerbates mental health issues which in turn worsen financial struggles (and on and on). This is especially true for those with pre-existing mental health issues or folks in debt. According to the report, 72% say their mental health issues made their financial situation worse, and 86% report financial difficulties made their mental health worse.
For person-first organizations like credit unions, addressing this complex crisis is essential to truly care for your members and improve lives in your community.
Wondering how you can make a difference? Offer effective financial education!
Uncertainty is one of the biggest drivers of financial anxiety. From a sudden financial issue like an unexpected medical bill to long-term struggles like debt, a significant portion of the stress comes from the uncertainty of how to best handle the problem.
Education is one of the best ways to mitigate the stress and mental health impact of financial challenges because it empowers people with knowledge and confidence to make the best choices for their individual circumstances and goals. By providing ongoing education, your credit union can help both those in immediate need as well as provide everyone a foundation of knowledge so that unexpected financial hardships have less of a mental cost.
Notably, to address mental health difficulties, it’s critical that your financial education is designed in such a way that it welcomes and engages the learner, rather than alienating or intimidating them. Moreover, education should be offered to everyone as a default, as the stigma around financial anxiety can prevent people from asking for help.
But you don’t have to fix it all on your own! Zogo works with credit unions to deploy education tools proven to improve both financial literacy and mental attitudes. Register for the upcoming “Financial Wellness & Mental Health” webinar or contact the team to learn how you can get involved today.