Debt & Mental Health - Ending The Stigma Around These Important Issues

Anyone in debt will know the toll it can take on your mental health. If you are always worrying about money, then it can be next to impossible to switch off. Sleepless nights and anxiety are often experienced by people struggling with debt. In particular, debt can have a big impact on your relationships with friends and family, as tempers fray and you end up taking your frustrations out on those close to you. At the same time, existing mental health issues can lead you down the path to debt, as you are no longer in the right frame of mind to make the best financial decisions. The two problems are often linked too, so the impact of one will take its toll on the other. This can feel like a vicious, never-ending cycle- but we’re here to show you that there is a way out.

At Debt & Mental Health, it’s our mission to sweep away the stigma associated with mental health problems, as well as unveiling the link between these issues and debt. We’ll be blogging about a whole range of topics related to this, as well as providing useful advice for those who find themselves in this situation. Both debt and mental health issues can leave you feeling like there’s no one on your side, but we’re here to prove that this isn’t the case. Whether you’re going through financial problems yourself, or know someone who is, our blog is a great resource to draw on- so take a look at our posts to learn more about debt advice.

Mental Health Problems Can Cause Debts, Too

In our last blog post, we took a look at just how much overlap there is between debt and mental health problems. We mostly focused on how debt can lead to issues with your mental health- but the reverse is also true. A large number of people end up in debt through no fault of their own. Their health issues lead to poor financial decisions, and these can often snowball into big problems that they simply aren’t capable of dealing with. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how this works in practise. See if you recognize any of these habits in yourself- and if you do, there’s some advice at the end on how you can start to rebuild your finances and your mental health.

Manic Spending Can Be A Huge Problem

Many people with bipolar disorder in particular suffer from debt problems. That’s because they alternate between manic and depressive episodes. In the former, they tend to make more impulsive decisions, without thinking about the consequences. If they see something they want, they’ll buy it- even if they don’t have the money to actually pay for it. At the time, these decisions seem perfectly logical, and so they see no problem with this impulsive spending. Once the mania has worn off, though, they are left to live with the consequences of their actions. Even those without any serious mental health problems can sympathise with this, since this thought process is much more common than you might think. After all, how many times have you bought something to cheer yourself up, even when you know you shouldn’t? This just goes to show how easy it is to make poor decisions with your finances- and those who can’t control their actions have it even worse.

Depression Has A Major Impact, Too

On the other side of the coin, depression can also cause huge problems with debt. While many people equate depression with simply feeling sad, it’s actually much more than that. Depression is a disorder which affects every aspect of one’s life, and as well as feeling down, it can also drain all your motivation to do anything. Naturally, that can end up having a big impact on your financial situation, since plenty of people with depression end up taking a lot of unpaid days off sick because they are unable to even get out of bed. When they aren’t earning as much as they usually would, this can lead to holes in their finances that they then need to plug- and all too often, payday loans and other debts are what these people turn to.
Depression can also have serious long-term consequences with your finances, too. Since it works its way into the very core of your thinking, many of those suffering with depression will become extremely anxious about money. Even if they actually have enough to get by, they can still end up thinking about money almost constantly, since it gives their mind something external to focus its anxiety on. For those who are in debt, though, this sort of thinking can end up making the problem a whole lot worse. They might be reluctant to open any post that’s from debt collectors or creditors, and therefore allow the debts to build up and up until they simply can’t keep up with them anymore.

Don’t Let Mental Health Problems Take Over Your Finances

At this point, they might feel like there’s no way out of their situation- but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Debt management is always an option, and by speaking to a professional financial advisor, you can restructure your debts into something that’s easier to handle. They may also be able to help you deal with the effects of your mental health problems, and avoid the consequences on your bank balance as much as possible. If your mental health is interfering with your finances, then don’t let the problem get too big to handle- instead, seek the guidance you need to keep your mind and your credit rating clear.

The Link Between Debt and Mental Health

Currently, Britain is in the grip of two big crises. The first is to do with the ever-increasing amount of debt that we are collectively building up- according to the latest estimates, the average household is almost £13,000. At the same time, the NHS is struggling to manage the demand for mental health services, as one in four adults will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. Currently, the resources to manage this crisis simply aren’t available- leaving those at risk in a much more vulnerable position than they should be.
From a distance, it might seem like these two issues are separate. In fact, though, there’s quite a lot of overlap between those struggling with mental health issues and people in debt. According to one study, half of those in debt have a mental health problem- which suggests that this overlap is more than just a coincidence. Naturally, if you’re facing a lot of pressure from creditors and living with the financial consequences of large debts, then this can have a serious impact on your mental health. On the other hand, those already experiencing health issues may find that this has a direct impact on their finances. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the hidden problems that can arise from debt, to dispel some of the myths around the subject.

What impact does debt have on people’s lives?

By answering this question, it should become clear why so many people struggling with debt go on to develop mental health problems. As anyone who has ever been in debt will know, this is an issue which quickly takes over every aspect of your life. Many people who get into debt are already on shaky ground when it comes to their finances. They take out loans that they can’t afford to repay for one reason or another. That leads to a constantly increasing amount of debt, which will ultimately threaten everything you have. Your home could be at risk and your belongings repossessed if you don’t keep up with all your repayments- but many people simply don’t have enough money to do that.

Naturally, the stress from this situation will often seep over into other aspects of people’s lives. Their relationship with their partner may become strained, as they find themselves a lot quicker to anger than they were before, and they take their stress out on their loved ones without meaning to. The constant presence of this anxiety over money also wears down your inner defences, and that external pressure can easily lead to clinical depression or other related issues. The more pressure builds up, the harder it can be to live your everyday life. You may end up taking time off work because you can’t face going in, or fall behind with debt repayments that you can afford since you lack the motivation to do anything. Debt-related depression is a vicious cycle that can be extremely tough to break out of- which is why you might need some outside help to clear the clouds.

If you’re suffering, it’s time to seek help

At the top of this article, we talked about how debt and mental health problems are both issues that can be tough to deal with. However, it’s important that you remember there are people out there who can help. While the NHS does often have long waiting lists for those seeking help with mental issues, it’s still worth getting yourself on the list- your GP may be able to prescribe a short-term solution, such as a course of antidepressants, while you wait for an appointment with a counsellor. At the same time, you should also try to take the first steps towards tackling your debts. A professional financial advisor can be a lot of help here, as they can often restructure your repayments to make them easier to handle. They may even be able to write off some of your debts to take the pressure off- so don’t struggle with your debt or your mental health alone. Instead, seek out professional help, and let the experts show you a brighter way forward.