JOHANNESBURG - Although the cost of living is rising, many South Africans have kept their quality of living much the same as before. Where is the money coming from?

South Africans are combating the high cost of living with loans, credit cards and store cards to make ends meet. This can result in psychological pressure. There are many factors contributing to depression. It can be biological, hormonal, genetic or attributed to medical illness or recreational drugs or medication.

Numerous studies have also linked psychosocial factors with depression, including stress related to major life events such as the loss of a loved one, troubles with family, or financial concerns.

Research has shown that financial instability can not only lead to depression but can further negatively affect the economy as a result.

South African debt review and counselling company DebtSafe conducted a “wellness survey” on the health and habits of over 2000 people. It found that 71 percent of people surveyed said financial stress influenced their overall health, 65 percent of people were more stressed as a result of money worries, and 87 percent of respondents said they felt “tired for no reason, worried and depressed” because of debt.

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa. The focus is to educate people about mental health issues and “reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to”.

In South Africa, according to a study conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science, depression costs the country more than R232billion due to unscheduled absences from work or presenteeism (working while unwell or distracted). 

PERSONAL FINANCE