The Impact of Financial Insecurity on African-American Mental Health By: Jessica Bullock, LCMHC
By | Sep 26, 2023
Who suffers the most during a recession?
People of Color.
The historic racial disparity of wealth is rearing its ugly head in 2023. According to Reuter’s job report, the unemployment rate has hit a record low among people of color. The leading group in this number is women of color at a record low of 4.2%. In today’s economy, many people are suffering economically. Post-pandemic inflation and financial mudslides have caused many people to take out credit cards, accumulate more debt, need more financial resources, make late payments, and live paycheck to paycheck. The group that suffers more than any other group are people of color, more specifically African Americans and Hispanics.
Finance can impact mental health in a number of ways. For example, financial stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Financial problems can also lead to relationship problems, substance abuse, and other health problems. On the other hand, financial stability can have a positive impact on mental health. People who feel financially secure are less likely to experience stress and anxiety. They are also more likely to have a positive outlook on life and feel good about themselves.
What are some ways we can address the mental health of African Americans and other marginalized populations during the economic squeeze:
Connect with a financial advisor- This is huge. Many times we experience stress because we have not connected with experts to show us the way. There are so many community services offered by each county, especially free classes and workshops. Additionally- a free consultation with a financial advisor can get you going in the right direction and provide resources for you if you are not ready to hire someone to consult with you about your finances.
Create a spending plan- I avoid using the word budget. It feels limiting- instead, shifting my verbiage to speak of the money I spend each month allows me to put a positive outlook on my financial situation and reframe the way I am thinking about the money that flows in and out of my home.
Review subscriptions and unnecessary monthly expenditures- You would be surprised at how many people I speak with who are spending money and are unaware of it. True Story! In 2020, my husband and I found $203.00 worth of unused subscriptions. That put 203 dollars back into our pockets per month.
Go To Therapy- Financial Trauma is real. Finances impact marriages, individuals and families. If you are able to talk about your finances in a productive way, then you will be able to open up dialogue about your financial story and your relationship with money. A therapist can help you learn how to communicate about money and handle your stress so that you can stop avoiding looking at your balances, actually speak with bill collectors, and take financial control of your household business. If you cannot afford therapy, try reduced fee options such as Your company’s EAP program, Sliding Scale Fees and Community Mental Health Centers typically have grants.
Identify Your Values- A mental health therapist can assist you in identifying what you value in life. The majority of our money is connected to the things we value the most and that has to be explored in order for radical financial changes to be made in your life.
According to the Policy Institute, people who are in financial debt are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than their counterparts. We need to address this disparity more in the mental health community. If you are in search of a Mental Health Professional, please feel free to visit the Clinicians of Color website at www.cliniciansofcolor.org.
About The Author
Since 2010, Jessica has been the CEO and Founder of LIFE OPTIONS COUNSELING SERVICES (www.betterlifeoptions.org), where she and her team have served thousands of families and individuals. She is passionate about bringing education and research that highlight BIPOC communities. Jessica also enjoys working as a consultant for counseling centers and churches, serves as a board member of several nonprofit organizations, and teaches in higher education. She is currently in her 3rd year working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.
#POC Mental Health providers #Minority Mental Health