Beyond Blue: Counting the mental cost of end of year financial struggles

Financial Stress

The latest Beyond Blue data suggests that one in five people’s mental health is being “extremely” impacted by the rising cost of living, with a new community survey commissioned by the organisation showing that financial pressures are the number one stressor for people as we head towards the end of the year.

The survey found that 77 per cent of people admitted to feeling stressed heading into the end of the year with almost a third feeling “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressed. 83 per cent reported the rising cost of living as negatively impacting their mental health, with one in five saying the impact is “extreme”.

People aged 18 to 49 are more likely to report that cost-of-living increases were having a negative impact on their mental health, and almost a third of all respondents said they’re likely to put a plan in place to manage their mental health.

Beyond Blue’s Clinical Spokesperson Dr Grant Blashki said Beyond Blue is prepared for an increase in demand for its support service this month.

“Last December, we saw a 41 per cent increase on the monthly average in contacts to the Beyond Blue Support Service. We expect the same, if not more, this year,” said Dr Blashki.

“It’s been a tough year as people grapple with cost-of-living pressures, high inflation, continual rate rises, and economic uncertainty.

“As the holiday season approaches, financial stress is having a significant impact on people’s mental health. It’s a time of great reflection, loneliness for some, and impossible financial expectations for others, such as buying presents or travelling to see family.

“Family events can also be a mixed blessing, beautiful celebration for some and a source of great stress and even conflict for others.”

Barefoot Investor Scott Pape spoke at a Beyond Blue webinar recently to discuss ways people can manage their current financial stress.

“The gift I want people to give themselves this Christmas is to have a sense of confidence and control around their money.

“You achieve that by tuning out of the financial doom and gloom, and tuning into the things you can control, and those small steps are what builds your confidence,” said Mr Pape.

“Our latest survey shows under a third of people are unlikely to put a plan in place to manage their mental health and wellbeing when things get stressful,” said Dr Blashki.

“What science tells us about looking after your wellbeing is that small regular actions, such as exercise or meditation, can be very effective. Getting into these good daily habits gradually improves your mental wellbeing, adds up over time and is more effective than trying to make one big dramatic change that is often unsustainable.

“We have developed a new Wellbeing Action Tool to help people identify ways that work for them,” said Dr Blashki.

Beyond Blue’s free Wellbeing Action Tool is available at

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