Today, October 10, 2020, World Mental Health Day is celebrated. This day is celebrated by more than 150 countries working to promote mental health education, awareness and advocacy against the social stigma of 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. In addition, one in 25 Americans lives with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. These numbers suggest that we probably all know at least one person in our lives who has mental health problems.
Working in finance has opened my eyes to the fact that mental health is critically linked to money. In fact, several studies (here, here, and here) find that financial hardship can be associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. While these results are amazing, they can be even worse due to COVID-19.
Today, more than ever, financial firms are in the best position to alleviate the suffering. That's why Mint works with other financial technology companies who share our vision: FinTech for Financial Good. We recently invited the Happy Money team to join forces for those facing financial and psychological problems. 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 resilience to financial stressors.
The program developed by the Happy Money science team uses the effects of individual personality types on one's relationship with money. Then, personalized insights and stress-reducing skills are 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 four incredible scientists who created the Peace Wellness series. She recently joined me on Instagram Live for a fireside chat where she went into more depth about the program and delved into one of her favorite topics – the science of happier spending. Liz helped explain some of her research on the relationship between money and happiness, and provided some actionable tips for smarter spending. Here are some things she recommends:
Spending on experiences rather than consumer goods
Donate to a charity or buy a gift for someone you love
Experiment with reducing small purchases that often go unnoticed
Start saving by adding just $ 1 a day to the savings account
Put the credit cards away during the vacation
If you're interested in putting some of these insights into action right away, you can start by making a donation to a nonprofit called For the Frontlines. The charity is helping health professionals and key employees deal with anxiety, stress, anxiety, and isolation while putting their health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. For the Frontlines has two options for you to help: volunteer or donate today.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, take some time to think about the people in your life and the potential impact financial difficulties can have on their mental health. Let them know that you are there for them during these challenging times and refer them to Peace by Happy Money for free help with financial stress.
Jackie Porter (5 posts)
Jackie Porter, M.S. is a behavioral scientist at Intuit and previously a writer for Intuit's Mint and Turbo products. She earns her PsyD in psychology and is a health and fitness fanatic.