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.

Passive Suicidal Ideation: A Discussion About Money + Mental Health

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

Did you know (according to Money and Mental Health Policy Institute), if you’ve had a “major financial crisis” within the past six months, you are nearly eight times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts?

Imagine a freelancer who doesn’t know when their next gig will come in.  They struggle with the feast or famine cycle many freelancers experience.

Imagine a startup founder (Someone who has literally given their blood, sweat, tears, and every last dollar in the hopes of getting noticed by an investor). They experience financial crisis more often than not until they “make it”.

But some things you can’t “fake” like passive suicidal ideation.

Passive suicidal ideation is the desire to die. It’s not accompanied by a plan to end your life, but the thoughts are real and intense.

I’m not a finance blogger like everyone else on this tour, but as a business owner, I know all too well the frustrations of not having enough money and wondering if I should call it quits. I’ve experienced the joy of paying off one student loan, while feeling the sorrow of not being able to afford my mortgage payments. I know from personal experience that my former company, A & D Media, was formed with less than $200 and dream. Which was pretty much the last bit of money in my and my business partner’s pockets. I took a risk like many of us who are entrepreneurial do. In some ways, I’ve failed. In others, I’ve succeeded. It really is a ride, this business life.

While I’ve never attempted suicide, many nights I was plagued with depressing thoughts. I used to wish and dream about never existing. I felt like the world wanted me gone, that the world hated me. I wished I didn’t have to exist in a world where I felt I was born to be hated.

This was passive suicidal ideation. But I didn’t know that at the time.

Eventually, with the help of therapy and finding my “why” (purpose), I overcame these thoughts.

My life changed when I discovered that I was surrounded by purpose. And I learned to set goals to help me with my purpose under all 6 slices of life for the year: personal, social, physical, spiritual, professional, and financial.

A culmination of my goals and purpose led me to write my book, Success to die for: Breaking down assumptions about anxiety, depression, & suicide and their impact on business women, which advocates for mental wellness in business so as to prevent further entrepreneur suicides.

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned (and share in my book) that whatever load you’re carrying around in your life comes right along with you into your business venture. And that includes mental health issues. So while we can appear to “have it all together” financially, we can also be depressed, experience chronic disease, have anxiety, addictive behaviors, etc.

I’m lending my voice for the business owners who haven’t “arrived” yet. Who are still climbing the ladder of financial success. All while maintaining their mental health. Heck, I’m lending my voice for those who have seen financial success, and still feel empty and unfulfilled inside.

Resources

Join the Love Yourself Love Your Business mental wellness movement tribe and surround yourself with fellow entrepreneurs breaking mental health stigmas.

NAMI Suicide Prevention Month Advocacy

International Association for Suicide Prevention

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

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