A worrying trend has been developing over the past couple of years. It seems that financial worries are having an adverse impact on men’s mental health.
Research has revealed that 2.3 million men in the UK have had panic attacks as a direct result of money worries. This equates to nearly 10% of the male population.
The report by Yolt goes on to reveal that 14% of men surveyed admitted they had been unable to sleep due to having money problems hanging over them.
More than one in ten said they ignored their finances because it made them feel anxious or depressed.
According to Priory, the leading independent provider of mental healthcare and adult social care in the UK, the biggest cause of mental health issues in men’s lives are work (32%), their finances (31%) and their health (23%).
If this sounds familiar, read on as we explore why financial issues particularly affect men’s mental health and the steps you can take to alleviate depression.
Societal Expectations and Gender Roles
It may seem outdated to some these days, but in many cultures historically, men have been seen as the primary breadwinners.
Maybe this is something you can relate to?
You wouldn’t be alone, for this is a deeply ingrained societal expectation that has placed immense pressure on men to succeed financially for the past few centuries.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, when men face financial difficulties, they often perceive it as a failure to fulfill their traditional role.
This can lead to feelings of:
- low self-esteem
These negative emotions can escalate into serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Stress and Financial Uncertainty
Financial instability is a significant stressor. For many men, the inability to manage finances effectively or the constant worry about providing for their family can be overwhelming.
Chronic stress from financial worries can lead to mental health problems, including increased risk of:
- substance abuse
The stress can also exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions.
Limited Emotional Expression
It is also something of a “tradition” that men are expected to refrain from showing their emotions.
In times past, this would have been called men having a “stiff upper lip.”
Such expectations and “way it is meant to be” can prevent men from seeking help or talking about their financial worries. This compounds the stress they feel.
The lack of emotional expression and communication about financial problems can lead to a sense of isolation, increasing the risk of mental health issues.
Impact on Relationships and Family Dynamics
Financial problems can strain relationships, which is particularly challenging for men who see themselves as providers.
Relationship strain can also lead to additional mental health challenges.
The stress of financial issues can lead to increased conflict and tension within a family.
This can result in a breakdown of family relationships which then further impacts mental health.
Workplace Pressure and Job Insecurity
- There was a time when the “middle classes” in the UK were generally safe from such things as cost of living crisis.
But that has all changed in recent years, especially post-pandemic. There is no longer a “job for life” as a career in the banking sector used to be described.
Nowadays, the modern workplace can be highly competitive, with job insecurity and the pressure to perform financially impacting men significantly.
This pressure can lead to:
- work-related stress
- mental health issues
Men who lose their jobs or fear job loss due to economic downturns may experience a profound impact on their mental well-being.
Lack of Access to Mental Health Resources
For many of the reasons as outlined above, men might be less likely to seek mental health support due to:
- the perception that admitting to financial problems is a sign of weakness
- accepting that financial problems is affecting their mental health and well-being
But even if men did seek help, there is often a lack of targeted mental health resources for men facing financial difficulties.
How to Survive Financial Stress
Financial stress, like other forms of stress, can quickly get on top of you and lead you into a state of being that can be unhealthy.
It is important to recognise early on that there are ways to keep depression and anxiety at bay.
Talk to friends/family
Keeping problems to ourselves is the quickest route to mental ill-health. Reaching out and sharing our troubles with friends and family lessens the blow significantly.
If you’re going into debt because of financial problems, get advice as soon as possible on how to prioritise your debts. Facing these situations will generally make them easier.
Keep seeing your friends and exercise regularly. Physical activity has been proven to improve our mood when we’re feeling down.
Avoid excess alcohol
Alcohol abuse is a recurrent problem for people with money worries. It’s an escape but is never a solution to our problems, financial or otherwise. Knowing this can prevent you from sinking into alcohol dependency or even substance abuse.
Keep to your daily routine
It’s easy to slide into melancholy and depression when things aren’t going well for us and we appear to be in deep trouble. Trying to stay positive is a must. Try and stick to your usual routine when it comes to getting up time and meals.
Organisations offering helpful advice online
- Citizens Advice
- Money Helper
- National Debtline
- StepChange Debt Charity
- Mental Health & Money Advice
Taking the Initiative
So far we have explored the ways financial problems can impact men’s mental health and well-being.
These are all things to be on the lookout with yourself or others you may be close to.
If you are feeling like financial pressures are building, then being proactive in dealing with it can be a good approach.
It has worked for others.
This involves seeking ways to increase your income and wealth, and learning how to manage money better.
You can do all that with us here at Investment Mastery and subscribing to IM Insider.
At Investment Mastery we provide education and training on money management and how to invest successfully to grow wealth.
The link between financial problems and men’s mental well-being is complex and influenced by a variety of factors.
To recap, these include:
- societal expectations
- limited emotional expression
- relationship dynamics
- workplace pressures
- a lack of appropriate mental health resources
Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, including promoting mental health awareness, encouraging open discussions about financial stress, and providing targeted support for men experiencing financial difficulties.