Debt and Mental Health with the Happy Hour Ladies


Debt and Mental Health with the Happy Hour Ladies

Today is the last Friday of the month and my regular listeners know that on the last Friday of the month, I host a happy hour, where I gather great friends to drink cheap drinks and talk about money topics. Today is not only the last Friday of the month, but it’s the last Friday in September, and September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This month I committed two shows to talking about finances and mental health.

At the Financial Gym we have a slogan “what are you working for”, and if you don’t have physical health or mental health what are you working for? A few weeks back I spoke with my friend Ash Cash, and today the Happy Hour Ladies and I are sharing our personal stories and struggles with mental health. As a heads up, we got very honest about our personal journeys, and if you are triggered by suicide conversations, prescription drug conversations, or depression conversations in general, you may want to pass on this episode. For everyone else, I hope that this helps you or someone you love who battles with mental health.

What are we drinking?

Melanie from Dear Debt — Margarita

Tonya from Budget and the Beach — Prosecco

Liz, Mrs. Frugalwoods, from — Boxed Malbec

Shannon — Vodka & Lemonade

Podcast Notes

  • For the past three years, Melanie has been doing a blog tour in September with her personal finance friends to get people talking about suicide, debt, depression, and mental health in general.
  • Before the tour, the most consistent search term to find Melanie’s blog was “I want to kill myself, because of debt”. Melanie felt compelled to write about how debt is not a death sentence. To this day, that term is still her top search topic.
  • Melanie’s maternal grandfather killed himself when her mom was five. Last year, her mom wrote a post about being a child of suicide.
  • When Melanie was a teenager, she had thoughts of suicide. She told her mom, because she was scared, and she sought help through therapy and medication.
  • Every September, Melanie wants to reach out to as many people as possible.
  • In 2016, Melanie emailed every personal finance blogger she knew and asked them to write about suicide and debt and debt and depression and publish it anytime in September.
  • According to Psychology Today, people in debt are eight times more likely die by suicide.
  • Liz’s experience with mental health was non-existent, until a coupld of months ago, when she was diagnosed with post-partum depression. She thought how she felt was normal, because she was tired and she has two kids who need her. She started doing more self-care and eating more protein and thought she could muscle her way through it.
  • Liz didn’t want to write, she missed a podcast, and she started to hate the homestead. She questioned every decision she ever made. Liz’s husband convinced her that she needed help and she went to a therapist. Within the first few minutes, the therapist diagnosed her with post-partum depression and recommended that she start taking medication. She went to her primary care doctor who said the same thing and prescribed medication.
  • Liz went through a couple of weeks of therapy, before she had the prescription, and it was clear that medication was necessary. Liz was not able to see this by herself.
  • Within the first week of taking the prescription, Liz was back to loving her life, her husband, her kids, and writing. The medication was transformative.
  • Click here to read more about Liz’s experience.
  • Depression is a liar. It’s easy to get into the trap of hating yourself. When you get the help you need, you realize that you cannot trust your thoughts. There are some periods of time where you cannot just muscle through it.
  • Tonya is more on the anxiety side versus depression. She has gone to therapy but has never been on medication. She has seen the effects of depression on friends who are going through financial difficulties.
  • At the Gym, it is a priority to set aside money for physical and mental health. If something feels off, don’t let money get in the way of seeking help.
  • At the very least, go to your primary care doctor as a first step. If you have an imbalance, you know pretty quickly if medication works. Be open to a solution, even if it means medication.
  • Melanie was on medication from age 16 to 23, because she was suicidal as a teenager. From 23 to 33, she was medication free. She was able to get out of down times with therapy and exercise. Last year, Melanie tried everything and was still miserable, so she went back on medication and it got her back into a groove she needed.
  • If you struggle to get through the day, get help as soon as possible, because medication can take up to four weeks to work.
  • Shannon had a depressing period this past spring and sought help. She didn’t want to be the boss and didn’t want to read emails. Don’t stay in the bad place – there is a solution! Don’t give up on the things you are pursuing.
  • Listen to the people around you, if they suggest you get help.
  • If you are drinking a lot alone or with your friends, using drugs, or other things to numb your brain, seek help!
  • Therapists help you understand different ways of thinking. Women are more likely to believe the bad thoughts.
  • Depression is a medical diagnosis. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Mental health and money are the final taboo topics, because nobody wants to be around the person who is feeling bad. We all want the quick fix, but we need to talk about it more.
  • You do not need to apologize because you have depression. There shouldn’t be any shame around taking medication to get you back to yourself.
  • If your financial situation doesn’t allow you to get the therapy or medication you need, you need to find a way to get your finances in a better place. Nothing is impossible. Your mental health is a priority.
  • If you are in crisis, text the crisis text line at 741741. Trained crisis counselors talk you through what you are going through. This is free for anyone who is less than suicidal but more than depressed.
  • Talk to your doctor, your child’s pediatrician, whoever is the lowest barrier to get information and help. Take care of yourself and the ones you love.
  • If you are in crisis please call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741

TAKEAWAY: First of all, thank you, as always, to my friends for being as brave and honest as they always are on this show. My biggest takeaway is to never feel as though mental health is a taboo topic. If you’re not feeling yourself, reach out to people you love and share that with them or if people you love are noticing a change in you, don’t dismiss it. Their feedback could be life altering for you.

If you’d like some help getting your finances together, so money doesn’t contribute to poor mental health, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. There’s no better time than now, so head over, or send friends to, to sign up today.

If you have any topics you would like for us to talk about during happy hour, please feel free to email me at or tweet to me at blonde_finance or join the private martinis and your money Facebook group and let us know. Until next time, take care!!


  1. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I agree that both money and mental health continue to be taboo, and I am honored to be part of communities such as these where we are talking about both.

    Today, one of my best friends recognized that she needs help for depression, but was concerned about insurance not covering it. I agree,, Shannon that it is a priority to set aside money for physical and mental health.

    Even if you do not have insurance, there are free or affordable options:

    1) ask whether your company has an Employee Assistance Program or
    2) check with the nearest University with a psychology graduate program. If they have a Psychological Services Center, it likely has sliding-scale fees.

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