Part 1: Addressing Wall Street’s Mental Health Stigma
Wall Street is known for a lot of things. It’s busy. It’s loud. You’ve seen it depicted in movies and on television countless times. Most people recognize it as a place where people stand to make (or lose) a lot of money. One thing almost everyone can agree on when it comes to Wall Street, however, is how stressful it is.
If you work on Wall Street or deal with the stock market at all, you likely understand that stress on a personal level. Unfortunately, that isn’t even the biggest problem. The bigger issue is the fact that there’s a stigma surrounding mental health on Wall Street. In such a fast-paced, high-stress industry, that has created a lot of issues over the years and continues to be a problem today.
So, what can (and should) be done to address Wall Street’s mental health stigma?
Why Does the Stigma Exist?
The environment surrounding Wall Street can often be described as cut-throat. You have to trust your gut, move quickly, and show extreme confidence in your decisions or you could end up making a big mistake that will cost you or your company thousands of dollars—or more.
Over the years, that has created a stereotype surrounding the people working on Wall Street. If you don’t appear confident, tough, and immovable, you will be viewed as weak. At least, that’s what the stigma suggests.
People have a lot on the line when it comes to working on Wall Street, so no one wants to be a weak link. However, in such a stressful environment, not addressing mental health issues or prioritizing mental wellness can lead to long-term issues.
The Cost of Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health, causing issues like:
High blood pressure
Muscle aches and headaches
Stress can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and can even trigger panic attacks. Because of the mental health stigma surrounding Wall Street, many people end up ignoring their stress levels or just considering it part of the job. Unfortunately, lingering stress can end up costing you far more than a market crash ever would. It could cost you your health.
What Can Be Done?
Thankfully, there has been some movement around Wall Street regarding the mental health stigma and what can be done to change it. Some firms are actively working to break the stigma. In February 2022, the New York City affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NYC) introduced the NAMI-NYC Wall Street Mental Health Collaborative. This program has worked with firms that want to pledge to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health on Wall Street. As more firms start to follow, the stigma will likely continue to weaken. Ideally, that will allow more people on Wall Street to prioritize their mental health.
On a personal level, you can choose to ignore the stigma yourself. Yes, that might seem easier said than done. However, once you understand the physical and mental toll this kind of lifestyle can have on you, taking care of yourself becomes even more critical. Find ways to de-stress every day. Practice meditation or mindfulness. Exercise. Start a gratitude journal. Most importantly, ensure you’re striking a healthy work-life balance so you’re not bringing Wall Street home with you every night.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and you’re still worried that coming forward about it on the job might cause problems, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. Therapy is a fantastic way to take charge of your mental well-being and get the help you deserve as the stigma starts to fall.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey , New York, and Pennsylvania via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.