If you’ve been on any social media platform recently, you’ve probably seen a quote, affirmation, or phrase that urges you to protect your peace or mind. If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t make much of those heedings. Well, I’m here to tell you financially speaking, not caring for your mental health can actually hurt your pockets (and the economy) in ways you couldn’t imagine.
Although mental health is something personal, it can have large adverse effects that extend beyond our nuclear family and friends. It’s why so many corporations and governmental institutions are investing in mental health initiatives. Mental health issues alone will cost the global economy $16 trillion by the year 2030. These issues literally keep CEO’s up late at night and are discussed immensely among executives. Companies are starting to realize that depressed employees cost way more than happy ones. Employees with depression miss about 27 workdays per year compared to their peers without depression. Those absences cost businesses about $4,426/year per employee. When you add that up, employers can lose upwards of $51 billion per year in lost productivity.
Businesses aren’t the only entities that suffer; their employees suffer too. On top of being depressed, an employed person undergoing mental distress has an average healthcare cost of over $10,000 annually. This is compared to the average cost of a person without depression whose average cost is $4,584. Mental health may also factor into your salary as well. Studies have shown that healthy respondents earn at least $9,000 more per year than respondents with serious mental health issues or illness. This is both for men and women. Mental health days can take a financial toll on the personal side as well. Every mental health day taken in a month results in approximately a 2% drop in a person's income growth. As a country, we lose up to $53 billion a year in income growth due to mental health days.
However, there is no need for us to carry this financial burden on our own. There are many ways employers, the government, friends and family can help. Businesses and the U.S. government can step up by increasing insurance coverage, so that the costs of accessing mental healthcare aren’t as burdensome. 42 percent of the population have poor insurance coverage when it comes to mental healthcare and the out of pocket costs are too expensive for many. 1 in 4 Americans reported having to choose between paying for every day needs or getting mental health treatment—which is a definite no-no.
In our personal lives, we can help get rid of the social stigma of mental distress. Personally, I shied away from maintaining better mental health when I was younger because of the social stigmas that my West Indian parents imbued up on me growing up. In my family, it was put upon me that if you had mental health issues, it was because something was “wrong” with you—and that just isn’t the case. As a young kid, you can feel judged if you open up to others about the mental state of your mind—and there are many people who feel that judgment. 31 percent of Americans have worried about feeling judged by someone else when they've told them that they have searched for mental health services of some type. On top of that 21 percent of Americans have avoided or just straight up lied about getting help for their mental health issues.
However, this wouldn’t be a Dime if I didn’t try to throw in some solutions, right? Start off by following dope folks on social media like Tracy G, a mental wealthness IG guru. If you live in New York City, take a look at HealHaus, which has an extensive network of therapists and mental health professionals. They also provide small group sessions—in-person or virtual—where you can practice yoga, meditation, or simply have talks with others who identify with your mental anguish or situation. And outside of the standard meditation apps, such as Calm and Headspace, try growing your access pool of mental health professionals by taking a look at ones dedicated to servicing Black folks like us. Ayana is a Black-owned app that will match you with a Black mental health professional who will culturally understand your mind space. I love this app because one of the things I found amongst my friends is that they were constantly asking for my therapist's info in private. At first, I was honored that they felt comfortable enough to share with me that they wanted to see a therapist; however, over time, I started to feel down about the fact that most of that was because I was one of a very, little few that they knew who openly spoke about going to a therapist, and secondly, they didn’t have many options they knew of to begin with.
The Zone is my preferred mental health app of choice. I literally use it every single every day. I consider it as having a wellness coach in my pocket that is personalized to help me tackle any particular issue—whether I want to meditate, chat with someone, or educate myself on what I've been going through. What I particularly love about this app is that it began as a private beta with student athletes. Anyone who’s been a student athlete, whether high school or college, has felt the pressures of dealing with family, sports, and education. Although I’m no longer a student athlete, I feel very catered to with notifications that keep me going throughout the day: discreet notifications to either meditate, journal, or visit my therapist. The Zone also helps me personalize my mental health journey based on simple questions like “How are you feeling today?” to begin my path of self-discovery.
Don't delay on keeping your mental wellness in check; any delays can be very costly, in time and money, and not to mention your sanity. All of the resources that I’ve provided are either free or sliding scale—so monetary issues shouldn't be a concern. I know how much not keeping our mental health in check can cost us. Don’t be stingy with your mental health, or for that matter The Dime. Pass the message on to a friend.