According to the most recent Stress in America: Paying with out Health survey, released by the American Psychological Association, for the majority of Americans (64 percent), money is a source of stress. Unlike in prior years of the survey, this year a clear gap emerged between those living with lower-income households reporting higher overall stress levels than those living in higher-income households.
The consequences of financial stress for the majority of Americans, particularly those with lower incomes, manifests itself in regards to their overall health and wellbeing. Those living in lower income households with extreme financial stress are more likely to report sedentary or unhealthy behaviors than those in lower income households with less financial stress. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans report skipping doctor’s appointments when they are in need of health care because of financial concerns and almost a third of adults report that money is a major source of conflict in their relationship.
The survey also revealed that a proven solution for lowering stress levels is emotional support from family or friends, but that nearly 43 percent of American surveyed said they had no source of emotional support. Those who reported lacking of emotional support were more stressed, more depressed/sad and less likely to make lifestyle changes because they were too stressed. To boot, significantly more Americans from lower-income households than those from higher-income households say that they do not have emotional support.
If friends and family are not providing the stress-abating emotional support that individuals need in order to break the cycle of financial stress and improve financial health, then who can? Assuming some lower income individuals interface with Human Services in some capacity, perhaps it can be inferred that case managers might be the next best thing to friends and families. However, one cannot assume that case managers are immune from financial stress and unhealthy coping methods, but they might serve their clients better and become healthier themselves with the same emotional support that all people are proven to need.
The Financial Health Institute’s Case Manager Training helps case managers learn how to align their spending, saving and health related behavior with their personal values so that they are outfitted with more tools to guide their clients.