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Debt and mental health are closely linked in a cause and effect relationship.

There are many reasons why people fall into debt, and being in financial difficulty can has many tributaries, not all of them obvious. For example, the most common reasons for falling into debt are unemployment and redundancy, not drugs, spending sprees or a profligate lifestyle.  Apart from the obvious the consequences of debt, such as worry and threatening letters, there is an associated risk to mental health and wellbeing, with depression and anxiety frequently adding to the mix of difficulties.

Up to half of people with problem debt also have mental health problems, and the the burden is made considerably worse by the stigma, and having to deal with it alone. Although credit card companies and other organisations have got much better at dealing with their customers who cannot pay, much of debt-related anxiety is still due to a lack of understanding and support from creditors, as well as from the individual’s family, friends and employers.

It may be difficult to help people with mental health difficulties directly, but better understanding of debt and its impact could lessen judgemental social attitudes and, who knows, even ripple out to influence how debtors are dealt with by the organisations they owe money to.

We can all help reduce the stigma of mental illness and its associated effects. I am passing on this link to the Mental Health Foundation website, in the belief that every little helps.

 

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