Money matters and mental health

May is mental health month. And money can play a significant role in our mental health.

Let's start with a statistic. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, there is a strong link between debt and some mental health issues. And, if this is the root of your sadness or pain, this is something we can fix, or at least work on.

We talked with Tarra Jackson who is known to some of you as Madam Money. She comes from the financial services background and addresses this very issue of mental health and wealth. She offers what she calls "three mental health issues that mess with our money": avoidance, denial and depression. Those first two, if not tended to, can lead right into three - depression. 

She explains avoidance.

"When things are happening - we lost our job, we can't pay a bill, whatever - we avoid it. The phone calls, the letters. We just avoid the situation because we mentally can't deal with the situation right now. That can exacerbate the situation. But we need to know what the situation is so we can know how to proceed. We need to know if we need to work with you and try to give you a payment plan, maybe skip a payment, refinance, do what we need to do to help you. Because, at the end of the day, the financial institution just wants the money."

The financial institution just needs to know if you are avoiding them because you don't want to pay, or if you are avoiding the situation because you can't pay but you'd like to sort it out.

Then there's denial. You say, 'This isn't happening. No, my house isn't getting foreclosed on.'  You don't address it until that car is actually repossessed. Don't get here she says. Seek financial counseling.

"We have to have a reality check with someone. Again, talk with someone, whether it's a counselor or a financial counselor like myself, to help you understand the reality of it and then possible solutions for it."

And if you ignore these signs and keep digging a deeper financial hole, you can certainly find yourself in a very depressed place. So, don't get this point.