Money and Suicide: When “Fake it until you make it” goes too far

This blog post is part of the 4th Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741

It doesn’t come as a big surprise that there’s a link between struggling with money and struggling with mental health. Depression, especially clinical depression, causes many missed days at work. But if you do manage to go into work, you face mental check-outs. You can’t focus, so you’re not productive.  

Couple this with having more bills than money in the bank, not only is this stressful but also it’s demoralizing. This is especially true when you are constantly surrounded by or reading about people who have become millionaires in their 20s or 30s, and then they retired. 

(It’s called the FIRE Movement. You can read more about it here)

When you’re an entrepreneur and a business owner, you feel even more of an obligation to live up to the hype. You may have to impress and capture the interest of investors. You may have employees relying on you. You may have a small team of independent contractors helping you do more than you normally would in your “technically” one-person shop. 

Now imagine you have a family who relies on you. You have to pay for two mortgages, childcare expenses, and medical expenses. The debt just keeps accumulating. You’re one financial crisis, one lost client gig away from ruin.  

What’s really going on behind our professional smiles and firm handshakes?

Everything inside you wants to cry out & tell someone that you are struggling, but you can’t because you are trying to save face. You’re embracing that tired entrepreneurial cliche, “Fake it until you make it.”

All this is, is a recipe for Passive Suicidal Ideation. It’s the desire to die. It’s not accompanied by a plan to end your life. But the thoughts are real and intense. And they can lead to Active Suicidal Ideation with an actual plan to end your life if you don’t take them seriously. 

According to Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, if you’ve had a “major financial crisis” within the past six months, (which can happen quite frequently as an entrepreneur) you are nearly eight times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. And while you might never intend to act on those thoughts, it can and has happened. On the flip side of that, common symptoms of mental health problems, such as increased impulsivity and memory problems, can make it harder to keep on top of financial management. Impulsivity is also a trait often attributed to entrepreneurs

One of the main reasons I was motivated to write my book, “Success to Die for” is that I wanted to advocate for mental wellness amongst business leaders to prevent entrepreneur suicides. Whenever I thought about business owners, CEOs, and entrepreneurs I will be the 1st to admit I assumed they were “go-getters,” “super strong,” “ultra productive,” and “has it all together.” That was until I became a business owner myself that I quickly learned whatever load you’re carrying around in your life comes right along with you into whatever business venture you’re embarking on in some form or another. And that includes mental health issues. 

How can we Be The Change…for real?

Too many of us are suffering in silence, faking as if everything is awesome. It’s time for leaders to stand up and have real conversations about mental health for suicide prevention. And these conversations need to take place more than once a month.

Now I pose some questions to you: how can you help support suicide prevention? How can you overcome Suicidal Ideation? How can you help someone you know overcome Suicidal Ideation? 

Here’s a few suggestions:

1) Take mental health first aid to know the signs, so you can assist a loved one in need. 

2) Walk to fight suicide and raise funds for more research.

3) Join an online mental health peer support community like Love Yourself Love Your Business.  

4) Maybe most important of all: talk to someone you see struggling. Reach out to someone when you are struggling. You’d be amazed how much a simple conversation might help. Not sure how to reach out? Learn more by clicking here.

 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Mental Health and Debt: A Call To Action







This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.

I remember when the hip-hop song came out called “Mo Money Mo Problems”. In my mind, that didn’t seem right. Since I had plenty of problems and no money. Where I came from, poor was an economic reality, but admittedly, it was also a state of mind. To me, it made perfect sense why “being broke” was…depressing. In a 2010 review of 115 studies that spanned 33 countries across the developed and developing worlds, nearly 80 percent of the studies showed that poverty comes with higher rates of mental illness. Among people living in poverty, those studies also found, mental illnesses were more severe, lasted longer, and had worse outcomes.

Keeping those statistics in mind, when I first started to do research for my book “Success to Die For” as much as I tried to be unbiased, I knew it was better to acknowledge my very real biases and work through them to reveal the truth as it became clear to me. I went in assuming my fellow struggling small business owners would report higher rates of depression and possibly thoughts of suicide, but I was proven wrong. Though, my investigation is a far cry from an academic study it was enough to say with a humble confidence that mental health issues don’t discriminate. And with several high-profile suicide deaths getting media attention as of late, perhaps there’s some truth to that song. Perhaps there are several reasons why the super (financially) successful get depressed.

Because there are several studies pointing to either side of the “who has it the worst”, I’d rather be more productive and talk shared humanity and solutions. I think that the one thing both sides of the equation can potentially face is the proverbial fall from grace. The roller coaster of life that has ups and downs.

Whether poverty-stricken or wealthy, losing something of value to you hurts. If you live in a developing country and you find joy in being a farmer, but suddenly experience an accident that takes away your ability to make a living, of course, you’re going to be affected by it. Likewise, if you live in a wealthier country, walk into work one day and find that your entire board voted you out of the company you founded, your best friend is sleeping with your spouse, and they wiped your account clean and sailed off into the sunset…that’s enough to drive a person mad. (That second scenario may seem unrealistic, but I actually met a man who shared the 1st part of that story with me and met others who shared the other parts.) Or how about the middle class man in his 50s who gave one job all of his years of loyalty and dedication, let the job give him an identity and a purpose in life based off of that identity tied to said job only to be let go right after he took out that 2nd mortgage on his house for a family medical emergency. I learned through fellow mental health advocate, Mettie Spiess that 70% of the suicide deaths in 2016 were middle-aged men.

If I could rewrite the song title I’d say something along the lines of “Mo Debt Mo Problems”. In each of those scenarios, there is much more going on than the loss of money, but money has become, through collective agreement, one of the most essential social constructions in our societies. It is because of money, whether the loss of it or the fear of losing it, that mental health issues are triggered for some or become a stronghold to others who already have a history of mental health issues. The treatment time for clinical depression is said to be exacerbated by up to 18 months if you also have financial issues.

And I believe, as the founders of Global Women 4 Wellbeing often say, that we can do more good together. 

So while I think awareness and end the stigma campaigns are super necessary, I’d personally love to see collective policy change. I’d love to see more entrepreneurs and business leaders support one another through our mental health and debt issues so that we can create and provide more opportunities, jobs, and resources from a place a love and wholeness. I’d also love to see more developments in technology to help people with mental health issues and debt problems. (As a starting point, I’m glad to see a report on how FinTech can support people experiencing mental health problems.)

“The walk” to back up “the talk” not only prevents suicides but also sustains our mental health and financial recovery for the long-haul as we learn to build roller coaster resilience and maybe even shape our societies to cultivate things like equanimity and equity for the total wellness of all.

Do More Good Together with us! 

Love Yourself Love Your Business in collaboration with Butterfly Love, LLC will be participating in the Out of the Darkness Philadelphia Community Walk to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Join our team and walk with us, or donate to the cause!

Resources

NAMI Suicide Prevention Month Advocacy

Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741

International Association for Suicide Prevention

Debtors Anonymous

Related Posts

Suicide Prevention where Money and Mental Health Issues Collide

Passive Suicidal Ideation: A Discussion About Money + Mental Health

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Emily Wu Truong

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.