The cost of anything—from health insurance to a bachelor’s degree to a face cream—is always substantiated if what you stand to gain from the investment outweighs the initial costs.
However, some investments are not only entirely justified but could end up costing you a lot more in the long run if disregarded.
It’s Mental Health May, and I’m talking about investing in your mental health. Here at Paychecks & Balances, it’s our job to write and talk about how to get your financial life in order, inflate your economic gains and get ahead in life through tangible actions.
And there’s no greater holistic approach to improving all aspects of your life—yes, including your career and financial stability—than addressing and investing in your mental health.
How Much Will Mental Health Care Cost?
There’s much to this answer which we covered in a previous article. Pricing, availability, and regulations vary across the board depending on what services you need, where you live, and how much or how little you’re willing and able to invest in the costs.
Mental health care is an investment like any other which can generate a return on the initial cost and generate tangible gains in the long run.
But what happens to anything when you don’t invest in it?
A house will crumble at some point if money is not allocated to its maintenance, your teeth will fall out if you don’t invest in proper dental care, and your career will remain stagnant if you aren’t investing in acquiring new knowledge (courses, degrees, certifications, etc.), the list goes on.
Your mind is the single most important aspect of your existence; I mean, it’s literally what’s running the show—so why wouldn’t you invest in the wellbeing of your most valuable asset?
To substantiate the investment of time and money, let’s talk about what you stand to gain from working with a mental health specialist and what it will cost you to keep putting it off.
Mental Healthcare as a Lifelong Investment
The purpose of working with a mental health professional (licensed therapist, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, etc.) isn’t just to help people with mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar).
It can help anyone struggling with burnout at work, who has trouble coping with daily life, or who has undealt with past trauma—to delve inwards and figure out how your mind works, determine what you need to do to get functioning at your best, provide tools to help you tackle what life throws your way, and increase your overall well-being and health.
If you never go to your primary care provider for a checkup, how do you know nothing is wrong and your body is running smoothly? The same goes for your mental health.
Addressing your mental health can affect and improve critical areas of your life like your finances and career, which can cost you substantially more if left unchecked.
-To Understand Your Goals and Values and Get Closer to Your Idea of Success
Mapping out your career/life map with specific end goals (your idea of success) is difficult when you don’t have a clear sense of your values and beliefs and when those goals haven’t been carefully dissected yet.
To make an effective plan, you need to look closely (preferably with a professional) at what’s driving you and where you want to go.
Zooming out and looking at the bigger picture while zeroing in on your daily hurdles will remind you of what you are working towards and buffering out each step one at a time to propel you towards your goal.
Talking about yourself with a therapist who asks the right questions and acts as a soundboard will help you better understand yourself. You’ll be able to solidify long-term objectives and how to go from where you are to where you want to be.
-To Improve Your Communication Skills
Often, we have trouble communicating with those around us (boss, coworkers, friends, etc.) because we don’t fully understand where we’re coming from. Effectively using your voice is difficult when you still haven’t found it yet.
In therapy, you begin to understand your needs and desires and what you mean underneath your words. You ultimately understand how to align your delivery with your end goal through that communication.
Through practicing communicating your needs in therapy, you begin to communicate with those around you more effectively, boosting your self-esteem and creating stronger relationships in and out of work.
-For Improving Esteem and Making Financial Gains
Joyce Marter is a therapist and author of the book “The Financial Mindset Fix,” She believes, like many other financial experts, that addressing your mental health can be a big part of fixing your finances.
Marter explains that the underlying factor her patients ended up working on was their self-esteem. Early in her career, she found that as her clients grew in their self-esteem and became more proactive in their professional and personal lives, their finances began to grow.
Much work in therapy has to do with overcoming shame and past trauma that only inflates our egos and begins to put others’ needs before our own—out of self-protection, combined with unchecked stress and anxiety and depression is a recipe for financial troubles.
-For Making Effective Actions vs. Aimless Reactions
Working with a therapist will give you the ability to speak about your problems and relationships and anything stressing you out, relieving some of the pressure you’re building up inside.
This sets you up to talk about practical actions—learning how to think before you act, knowing what you want out of an interaction, and keeping your cool rather than simply reacting to everything that comes your way.
Knowing why you react in certain ways will pinpoint certain things in your past that shaped your reactions; after dealing with those issues, you can begin dealing with adverse reactions and start better behavioral habits instead of reacting erratically.
-To Overcome and Avoid Burnout
Let’s face it; everyone is burnt out in some area of their lives; in fact, many new people have started addressing their mental health recently because burnout is so widespread due to the pandemic.
There’s no better way to address burnout than with a licensed professional to pinpoint the problem to start managing the symptoms. A therapist will help normalize your feelings and validate them, then give you tools specific to your situation to combat burnout and check in frequently to prevent it in the future.
Therapy can boost your productivity in healthy ways that will not lead to burnout because you can maintain healthy boundaries and communicate your needs effectively.
-For Determining Toxic/Positive Environments
Addressing your mental health and speaking with someone helps get that’ second opinion’.
Maybe what you’re troubled about has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your environment.
A professional will help you zoom out on your problem, see the big picture and help you detect toxic settings vs. positive and healthy environments. They’ll guide you in navigating that environment, how to leave it, and how to deal with it in the future.
If you haven’t begun to address your mental health yet, why not see this as a fork in the road moment?
Think about what the road with mental health care looks like? What does the road without it look like?