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Expert panel discusses impact of financial literacy on mental and physical health (sponsored)

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Experts from GNCU, Renown Health and the School of Public Health discussed how financial literacy can impact wellness and health outcomes – and steps to improve both.

In recognition of National Financial Literacy Month in April, Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Public Health partnered to bring experts together. On Wednesday, April 5, a panel of experts discussed how financial literacy can impact people’s mental and physical health outcomes.

“We are at an inflection point where these types of conversations have to happen,” said Danny DeLaRosa, chief experience officer, GNCU. “People with expertise in financial areas can give you a plan and can help you understand what next steps to take. Even greater is someone who understands an individual’s specific financial circumstances and who can guide them accordingly.”

During the panel discussion, which included DeLaRosa; Mavis Major, licensed clinical social worker, Renown Health; and Praveen Durgampudi, department chair of Public Health Practice, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Reno, each panelist shared their insight into the connections between financial wellness and health. Moderated by Michael Thomas, senior vice president of communications, GNCU, the event started with a staggering statistic.

“According to a study by Bankrate, nearly two out of three Americans can’t afford a $1,000 expense,” said Thomas. “How did we get here?”

Credit and credit scores were a key topic during the discussion with panelists who shared personal stories of their past financial vulnerabilities. 

“Everyone has something they are trying to financially achieve,” said Durgampudi, who opened up about his challenges purchasing a car when he first arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant. “I could show I had a job and that I could make the monthly payments but as someone new to the country, I did not yet have a credit score.”

Stigma and shame were also discussed as both are associated with people admitting financial challenges and seeking help. The panel talked about how to open up dialogue around finances in a way that doesn’t embarrass people. 

“Sharing our stories of what we are challenged with and how things are impacted is meaningful,” DeLaRosa said. “If a child grows up in a household experiencing financial stress, they feel it. With one catalyst moment, you can transition and make significant, generational changes.”

From people challenged by medical debt to those who are struggling to afford their homes, Major discussed the link between socioeconomic income and health, with many Americans having to make difficult financial decisions each day, oftentimes choosing between their short-term health and finances.

“Many families have to decide between groceries and a large copay on prescription medication,” she said. “They are choosing between going to the doctor or a home remedy—debating the cost between the two. Access to healthcare can play a significant role in finances and many times, by the time we see a patient, they are so sick they end up in the ER.”

According to a report from Clinical Psychology Review, there is a direct link between mental illness and financial stresses. Other research has also shown that an individual’s financial capability, which is the combination of financial literacy and financial access, can predict their health outcomes. 

“Our aim was to provide a community forum to highlight when people are financially stressed, they may experience anxiety, depression and other mental health issues,” said Thomas. “With deeper understanding on how an individual’s finances may affect their physical and mental health, financial wellness is possible with assistance from financial institutions and healthcare professionals for improved health and well-being.”

GNCU offers financial resources no matter what stage of life people are in. To learn more, visit gncu.com/financial-resources

About Greater Nevada Credit Union

Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) is headquartered in Carson City, Nevada and has been helping Nevadans with their financial needs since 1949. The credit union serves more than 85,300 consumers and small businesses and has $1.78 billion in assets. GNCU’s subsidiaries include Greater Nevada Mortgage, Greater Commercial Lending and Greater Nevada Insurance. GNCU is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and has been consistently recognized as a Best Financial Institution in many of its service areas and as a top employer by the Reno/Tahoe Best Places to Work Awards. GNCU is also the title sponsor of Greater Nevada Field in Reno. For more information, call (800) 421-6674 or visit www.gncu.org.

About the University of Nevada, Reno

The University of Nevada, Reno, is a public research university that is committed to the promise of a future powered by knowledge. Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University serves 21,000 students. The University is a comprehensive, doctoral university, classified as an R1 institution with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Additionally, it has attained the prestigious “Carnegie Engaged” classification, reflecting its student and institutional impact on civic engagement and service, fostered by extensive community and statewide collaborations. More than $800 million in advanced labs, residence halls and facilities has been invested on campus since 2009. It is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Wolf Pack Athletics, maintains a statewide outreach mission and presence through programs such as the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Small Business Development Center, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, and is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world.

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