The Link Between Financial Health and Mental Health

It’s pretty common knowledge these days that mental health and physical health are connected. Illness can increase people’s chances of developing mental health ailments like depression, and on the other side people with depression are at a higher risk for other medical conditions.1 What’s not as well known, though, is that mental health is also connected to financial health.

A new report from Salary Finance, a company that works with businesses to improve their employee financial wellness programs, found a strong link between financial stress and mental health.2 It conducted a survey and concluded that, compared to people who are financially healthy, people who are financially stressed are 11 times more likely to have sleepless nights, 10 times more likely to struggle to finish daily tasks, seven times more likely to feel depressed, and six times more likely to experience anxiety and panic attacks. They also spend an average of three hours a week worrying about money troubles.

This isn’t a problem limited to a certain group of people; it could potentially affect almost any worker. The Salary Finance survey shows that rates of financial stress are consistent across different levels of income, with 42 percent of both respondents making over $100,000 per year and respondents making under $100,000 per year reporting themselves as financially stressed.

Some companies already seem to be pitching in, helping employees with their finances to make them more productive. The number of employers providing financial wellness programs has doubled in the last four years, according to a report by Bank of America.3 Earnin is also starting to partner with businesses so they can offer our financial tools to their employees. This week we unveiled our B2B program, which uses an innovative “Zero Integration” model so employers of all sizes can take advantage of it and offer immediate benefits to their workers. Gail Stout, the vice president of Earnin partner Assisting Hands Home Care, said, “We’ve already started to see significant adoption of the Earnin Benefit through our partnership with Earnin, which will help increase retention, attendance and focus.”4

More companies taking notice of financial stress is great, because with issues as serious as sleeplessness, panic attacks, and depression linked to it, it may be a massive problem that goes relatively unrecognized. It’s not just a concern for the workers suffering from it who have to deal with the consequences and costs associated with mental health care, but for the companies that employ them and the American healthcare system as a whole. People should be more aware of this connection between financial and mental health so they’ll be encouraged to treat their finances as an extension of their overall wellness, as well as tackle the problem as a community health issue rather than just an individual responsibility.

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