(TORONTO, ON) – On a day when Canadians coast-to-coast are encouraged to Tweet and text in the name of mental health awareness, Consolidated Credit would like to chime in with some tips and tools to help people cope with financial stress.
Jack Veitch, health promoter and educator at the Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Branch, is encouraged by recent awareness initiatives, such as today’s campaign by Bell called “Let’s Talk.” The telecom giant will donate money to mental health initiatives anytime Canadians Tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.
Veitch points out that while we have come a long way, there is still a lot of room for better understanding about how we live with mental health. He notes that daily concerns like financial stress could affect anyone, not just those who are suffering from mental illness.
“(Financial) stressors could lead us toward becoming unwell or lacking in our mental health,” says Veitch. “If it starts to impair or impact our daily activities, that’s when we’re crossing into the territory of mental illness and we’d benefit from talking to somebody.”
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, is well aware of financial stress affecting people across Canada.
“Financial stress has a direct impact on self-esteem,” says Schwartz. “People call us everyday with voices full of sadness, embarrassment, and helplessness. We are not mental health counsellors but we can do our best to put some of those financial concerns at ease.”
Veitch adds that prevention is important and encourages people to be proactive.
“You don’t have to be at the absolute lowest low before you reach out for help.”
With that in mind, Consolidated Credit has put together some tips to help alleviate financial stress before it becomes a bigger issue:
- Talk about it – Find someone you can trust – a close friend or a relative – and express your concerns. Financial stress is a very personal issue, but a fresh perspective may provide objective advice that could help you find a solution.
- Deal with debt collectors – Debt collectors can be aggressive. If you are receiving calls, tell the collector about your situation. Provincial and federal regulations protect you from being harassed and treated unfairly by financial institutions and collection agencies. If you feel like you are being treated unfairly, contact your local government or visit www.consumer.ic.gc.ca.
- Get real – If your finances are stressing you out, you should make an effort to find out exactly why they are causing concern. Write out a detailed budget – know exactly how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and where it’s going. Download our budget worksheet or free Budget Tool app so that you can identify areas where you can cut back or get similar products and services at a lower cost.
- Simplify – In today’s frantic consumer world, it can be hard to step back and simplify. Forget about the latest and the greatest products, and quit worrying about keeping up with the Joneses. You might find that focusing on family and friends instead of material goods will help you get the most out of life, and will also save you money.
- Seek help – If financial stress is starting to impair your daily life, seek mental help immediately by speaking with your doctor or going to your local Canadian Mental Health Association location. A trained credit counsellor can also help alleviate stress by assessing your financial situation and offering personalized solutions
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Jacob MacDonald, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]