College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines

Updates for students, alumni, and supporters

Finances and Behavioral Health

The future of health care starts at the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines as we prepare the next generation of social workers, nutritionists, dietitians, and nurses.

As part of an ongoing series, we invited UND Social Work faculty Jeffrey Anvari-Clark, PhD, MA, LMSW, to supply some comments on his perspective on current health issues.

Finances and Behavioral Health

Financial difficulties can impact anyone and contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Financial difficulties can also lead to increased physical stress levels, high blood pressure, and other health issues. It can also result in the neglect of necessary medical treatment and preventive care due to financial constraints.

Additionally, financial difficulties can be associated with problematic coping behaviors such as substance misuse, compulsive behaviors, and engaging in addictive and high-risk activities.

Relationships can also be strained in the presence of financial difficulties – such as in the case of financial infidelity (spending without telling your partner), financial enabling (the inability to say no to requests for money), and financial dependence (the over-reliance on others for financial stability).

Tips for mitigating negative effects of financial stress

Although structural supports and reforms are necessary, positive coping strategies and resilience-building efforts can help mitigate some of the negative effects of financial stress on behavioral health.

  • The first is to understand how you subconsciously think about and behave with money. Are you inclined to plan, save, be generous, spontaneous, carefree, or like to show off? None of these are wrong personalities; all can be beneficial—if they work for you. But any of them can also be a problem if the choices you make, or don’t make, cause financial stress.
  • Second, once you understand your money habits and attitudes, create a values-based spending plan that allows your money personality to shine through, but also makes sure that essentials are paid for on time and in full. For instance, if you find yourself giving too much to other people, allocate money in your budget for giving—just be sure to have also allocated money for your own rent, utilities, and other needs. That way you can honor both your financial and social obligations.

Once you have a plan and can see where your money is going, you’ll feel better and be able to handle crises when, or even before, they arrive.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed due to your debts, work with a credit counselor or a friend to create a strategy for paying it down. It will take hard work, but having the discipline and creating the right habits will set you up for a prosperous future.

This fall, Jeffrey Anvari-Clark will teach a NEW ELECTIVE on Financial Social Work at the University of North Dakota.

Jeffrey Anvari-Clark
Jeffrey Anvari-Clark
Assistant Professor, Social Work, University of North Dakota




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