Money stress putting pressure on SWFL residents’ mental health

FORT MYERS

In a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 87% of people say most of their stress comes from the cost of groceries, gas and rent, and Southwest Florida residents, especially senior citizens, are telling WINK News the same thing.

The number of people stressed about money just keeps going up. After about a year into the pandemic, in February 2021, 57% of people reported being stressed over money. In June of that year, that number went up to 61%. The most recent study done by the APA this February found that the number went up once again, to 65%.

Senior citizens who spoke to WINK News say living on a fixed income right now is tough and it’s really stressing them out. They’re afraid they won’t have any money left to keep up with costs.

“I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do with it in the future, because I moved here,” said Lee County resident Christopher Pierce. “For the last five years, I’ve lived at the yacht base and on my sailboat, I moved here to live on my sailboat. Now, the city wants to sell it, so now I’m looking at my rent doubling, or maybe having to move my boat somewhere or sell it, which I won’t be able to do, because there’s every place is full. And I’ve gotten $2 in raises this year, but I still can’t pay the rent.”

Others say what really takes a toll on their mental health is the need to devote so much more time to budgeting and the related stress.

“You got to worry, you just got to pick and choose,” said Fort Myers resident Robert West Jr. “Because you look at the prices, where it used to be one price, now 30 cents more, 20 cents more. So, you know, you look at it and say, ‘I can’t get this now, I gotta find something cheaper.’ If you don’t, you’ll just be broke.”

Officials who spoke to WINK News at a mental health facility say they’re seeing more people coming in, stressing about how they can’t survive these days.

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