Financial & Mental Wellbeing Will Be Front-Burner Issues for People & Policymakers
May 02, 2020
The abruptness and severity of the shock inflicted by COVID-19 has no equivalent in modern history. The pandemic’s power of exponentials has taken most decision-makers by surprise and brought a large portion of global economic activity to a sudden and dramatic halt.
The impact on human lives and health makes it obvious that, in the foreseeable future, the issues of (1) economic wellbeing, (2) financial wellness and (3) mental health will be at the forefront of everybody’s mind and policy action.
Individuals, enterprise and government must increase Self Care education to encourage self management wherever possible. That education must be based on practical Self Care skills that an individual can use to act as a buffer in times of acute stress.
Self Care is defined by the World Health Organisation (2013) as ‘the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, and maintain health and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider’.
The role of Self Care in effective health management and treatment is one of the major gaps in Australia’s health policy framework.
In ‘The State of Self Care in Australia’ as far back as February 2018, the report found that there is no evidence that people who most need support with Self Care and self-management are being effectively targeted by existing programs. It further found that there is no coherent approach to establishing clear priorities for Self Care, particularly in populations where the needs is greatest, as evidenced by their poorer health.
We already know,the dramatic increase in global unemployment will have a devastating effect on subjective wellbeing. Research shows that being made redundant can lead to a roughly 20 percent drop in life satisfaction. The loss of income (which represents the greatest and immediate hit to financial wellbeing) is often accompanied by a loss of self-esteem, a loss of social networks, and a loss of daily routine.
According to Tyler Norris, chief executive of the Well Being Trust, each increase of one percentage point in unemployment leads eventually to a 3.5 percent increase in opioid addiction (studying the US), suggesting that the pandemic’s economic effects will inevitably exacerbate the drug and mental health problems already so prevalent in the country. In addition, recent economic research concludes that measures of subjective wellbeing are more than twice as sensitive to negative as compared to positive economic growth.
This makes it even more compelling to justify the reason why, from a public policy perspective, governments must do their utmost to keep as many people as possible employed in their current jobs, even if they are not actually working at the moment.
Financial Self Care is one of the core plinths of WOW Self Care School. It focuses on helping people to understand the importance of employment, vocation and even volunteering to wellbeing.