Canadians are reporting that their mental health is hitting a low with many of the provinces showing declines month after month.
A Telus Health study showed that inflation is one of the leading causes.
“We live in a consumer culture so when I can’t compete with my neighbours or have what my friends have, I can feel low about myself,” said Sidney McGillicky, therapist at Living Sky Counselling and Consulting in Regina. “Self-worth can be reduced when there is an inability to maintain or provide my prior living standards.”
The study showed the mental health score of the country to sit at 64.8 out of 100 in January 2023, Saskatchewan’s rate sitting slightly above at 66.1.
“In terms of our emotional health and our mental health, finances are something that is a common stresser that can trigger and reinforce anxiety and create anxiety,” McGillicky said.
He noted that people are starting to prioritize necessities and negotiate new budgets to fit their lifestyles.
“It’s really important so we don’t create excessive stress with these kinds of financial hardships.”
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The Telus Health study showed that one in five Canadians have cut back on health-related expenses, like prescription medications or gym memberships, because of inflation.
This is three times more likely for people that don’t have emergency savings.
Financial advisor Samuel Lichtman said that he’s seeing people struggle with the cost of living more than ever.
“One of the most common questions that I get is ‘what can I need to do to cut back on costs’, ‘how can I be more mindful about my spending,” said Lichtman.
He said that now is the time to make tough decisions.
“People need to audit their spending. You can’t control what you can’t track.”
Using cash instead of credit cards is one way for consumers to tangibly see money leave their possession instead of a one-tap transaction.
“Mindfulness around what you are spending and how you are managing your money will go a long way,” said Lichtman.