Could it be that... Health

Is financial wellness a part of mental health?

Whether it’s farmers, entrepreneurs or people with no employment who take their lives because of financial debt, the feeling of hopelessness when money is short, is real. And yet, most of us don’t talk about money at all — it’s just not done, at least not in polite company.

This year, an introduction to PwC’s 8th Annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey 2019, says the, “...results show more employees than ever admitting to being stressed about their finances... Fewer employees feel their compensation is keeping up with the cost of living.”

Most of us who feel this way don’t voice our concerns to anyone. And while women may talk to each other, men seldom share their load. It’s part of the burden of patriarchy: the assumption that it’s the man’s responsibility, that no one else has a solution. Men are still measured by their wages, and women are still ‘given in marriage’, with no financial security except their husbands. Perhaps that’s the reason why a few men tragically take their own lives as well as those of their families, deciding for them in life and in death.

We are so often told to take charge of our health, given detailed advice on what to eat, how to exercise. We don’t spend half that much time on talking about money. Schools have no financial education programmes, and most companies don’t advise young employees on what to do with their salaries. They’ll help you with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome though.

How many of us know what our parents earn, or tell our kids how much we do? Psychologists ask us to make family life more participatory, getting all members involved in say, cooking, or planning for a vacation, so that each one has a voice. Why don’t we share any details about our finances with our children, instead of vaguely saying, ‘No money for that this month’, or ‘We are not like your friends who have lots of money’ or ‘Money is very tight for us’? This non-communication of the details only builds up anxiety in a child, which could, in later years, lead to a poor relationship with it.

In a world that spews out messages telling us that cash makes the world go round (it makes life richer, is the new story we’re told, through travel, food, wellness experiences), it is odd that we ignore the subject altogether. That we haven’t acknowledged that a salary negotiation can leave you feeling like you’re not worth much, a poor increment can give you undue stress about your child’s future, a bargaining client can chisel away at your self-esteem. These exist in the reality of daily life that is often a living hell because we simply don’t talk about it.

Sneha suicide prevention helpline: 044-24640060 (8 am to 10 pm); 044-24640050 (24/7)

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 11:30:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/is-financial-wellness-a-part-of-mental-health/article28821782.ece

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