Debt and mental health problems, be they caused by redundancy, bereavement, relationship breakdown, abuse or just naturally occurring, are rarely talked about but very common. What’s also rarely discussed is the link between mental health issues and debt. When debt mounts up, so does stress and anxiety.
Nearly half (44%) of people who have or have had mental health problems have severe or crisis debts, according to a 2011 MoneySavingExpert.com survey. Just one out of ten people who have never had mental health problems have severe or crisis debts.
A 2010 survey by debt counsellors Christians Against Poverty found that 44% of those seeking debt help had been prescribed medication by their GP to help them cope, 77% of those in a couple said debt affected their relationship and 38% had considered or attempted suicide.
Having a mental health problem can also make it difficult to deal with money day to day. It can affect your motivation, judgement and income. If you are signed off sick or unable to work long-term, you may find you struggle to make ends meet.
Fortunately, there is hope and there’s a way out for anyone with a debt problem. It’s important to recognise that you are not struggling alone. The key is to start by taking one or two simple steps and to tackle debt as soon as it starts to mount up.
Lewis, M., Keefe, J. and Curphey, M. (2012). Guide To Mental Health & Debt 2012. Help, info, guidance and support for individuals and carers. London: MoneySavingExpert.com.