Today, October 10, 2020, marks the celebration of World Mental Health Day. This day is celebrated by more than 150 countries that are committed to promoting mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against the social stigma that is mental illness. According to the CDC, more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life. Furthermore, 1 in 25 Americans live with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. These numbers suggest that it’s likely we all know at least one person in our life who suffers from mental health challenges.
Working in the financial space has opened my eyes to the fact that mental health is critically tied to money. In fact, several studies find (here, here and here) that financial hardship may be linked to higher stress, anxiety, and depression. While these findings are staggering, they may be even worse due to COVID-19.
Now more than ever, financial companies are in the best position to help reduce the suffering, which is why Mint is joining forces with other financial technology companies who share our vision: FinTech for Financial Good. We recently invited the team at Happy Money to join us in advocating for those who face financial and mental health challenges. Happy Money is an incredibly inspiring team that recently launched Peace by Happy Money, a free, weekly six-part wellness series that teaches evidence-based, stress-reducing skills to help restore balance and increase resiliency against financial stressors.
Developed by Happy Money’s science team, the program works by identifying how individual personality types affect relationships with money. Personalized insights and stress-reducing skills are then generated to increase the effectiveness of managing current and future stressful financial situations.
Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D. and Chief Science Officer at Happy Money, is one of the four incredible scientists who created the Peace wellness series. She recently joined me for a fireside chat via Instagram Live where she discussed the program in more detail, in addition to digging into one of her favorite topics — the science of happier spending. Liz helped explain some of her research findings around the relationship between money and happiness, in addition to providing some actionable tips for smarter spending. Here are a few things she recommends:
- Spending on experiences rather than consumer goods
- Donating to a charity or buying a gift for someone you love
- Experiment with cutting back on small purchases that often go unnoticed
- Start saving by putting as little as $ 1 into savings account daily
- Put the credit cards away during the holidays
If you’re interested in putting some of these insights into action right away, you can start by donating to a non-profit called For the Frontlines. The charity is dedicated to helping health care professionals and essential workers cope with anxiety, stress, fear, and isolation while risking their health during the Coronavirus pandemic. For the Frontlines offers two ways for you to help — become a volunteer or donate today.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, be sure to take some time to think about the people in your life and the way financial hardship may be affecting their mental health. Let them know that you’re here for them during these challenging times, and be sure to point them to Peace by Happy Money for free help with financial stress.