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Is there a relationship between money and mental health?

People often joke and sing about payday joy. There is a different kind of smile on people’s faces when they talk about what they would do if they won the lottery. Some say “It’s not about the money” and that there are more problems with more money, but you can often see stress and sadness when people struggle with lack. Even though it is often said that money cannot buy happiness, is it possible that the availability or lack of money can have an influence on our mental health and happiness? Why do we sometimes see unhappy rich people and joyful poor people? Is happiness completely unrelated to wealth?

Money itself is something that affects everyone, because it is the main way that we conduct transactions and get what we need/want in today’s world. If money, for most people, comes from work and/or business, it makes sense that a relationship between money and mental health, will also mean that there could be a relationship between work and mental health. There are several books talking about money or mental health, but not many have discussed the link between the two, if any. We have all had to think more about our jobs and money in the covid19 pandemic. As this is something that affects us all, Dr Akanet’s new book, Money and Mental Wellbeing, seems timely.

Most of us spend our days at work to earn the money we need to live the lives we want to live. Even those who do not work need money to pay bills and buy the things they need, so they also have a relationship with money. If we are working to cater for ourselves and others that depend on us, is it possible that money and work might be influencing our relationships and happiness? In a recent survey of 455 people across different countries and social status, almost 90% of the participants felt that “having or not having money affects their mental health and happiness”. Over 90% felt that how they spend their days (e.g their job) has an effect on their mental health and life satisfaction. It was interesting to note though, that only 76% of participants were interested in understanding more about the relationship between work/money and mental health. There is so much information available these days, but we need to be willing to read and use it. Dr Akanet’s new book simplifies some important ideas to help people look after their money and mental health in times like these.

This survey was done in December 2021 and January 2022, which is usually a time of celebrations and spending. People would have spent so much on Christmas preparations, gifts and tax bills. Some would also be experiencing the stress of finances and the dullness of winter. It might have been interesting to find out more about the participants that felt more of a connection between money and mental health at this time. Could it be a matter of insight or confounding factors? Do some people try to convince themselves that they do not care about money, e.g. because of their faith, “humility”, or reluctance to make changes, and refuse to see the connections? Over 80% of people in this survey at this time of year reported that they would describe their mental health as “generally good” at present. It is possible that they were the ones more likely to take part in an online survey anyway. If this is usually a stressful time with an increase in rates of depression and debt, might there be other factors that may be helping certain people to maintain good mental health in any financial situation?

Thankfully, 91% of participants indicated that they would be “willing to change their lifestyle and attitude to work/money if they understood how the changes can improve their mental health and happiness”. We know that there has been a significant rise in mental health problems in the covid19 pandemic, and people with mental health problems are 3.5 times more likely to be in problem debt. This is why Dr Akanet’s book explores the links to help us to look after our mental health when it comes to making and managing money. Visit or to read more and order your copy of MONEY AND MENTAL WELLBEING by Dr Afiniki Akanet - GP, inspirational speaker and author of Life Without Coffee (Choosing Happiness Over Stress) and 2020 Year of Plenty.

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