However big or small, being in debt isn’t a nice feeling for anyone. The worries around being in debt can consume our thoughts 24/7, taking a toll on both our physical and mental health. You may be surprised by the scale of the impact that debt can have on your health. We’ll explain how and suggest the best services to turn to if you’re struggling.
Unfortunately, financial problems and mental health are linked and can quickly create a difficult cycle to break. Money and Mental Health’s research found that almost half of people with a debt problem also have a mental health problem. It is not difficult to see how being in debt can make mental health problems worse, as was admitted by 86% of respondents.
It can often be difficult to scrape together the cash to support yourself and your family, and this daily pressure can be taxing. Struggling to do so can trigger feelings of guilt and stress, and you may even feel scared to simply look at your bank balance.
These emotions can create an overall sense of anxiety that can quickly become overwhelming. Just know that you are not alone. If you have a problem with debt, you’re nearly 8% more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, this adds up to around 81,000 people in the UK.
Debt can also cause bouts of depression. Signs of depression often include difficulty sleeping or eating, and losing interest in the activities you used to enjoy. Depression can also cause you to feel hopeless with low self-esteem. Nobody wants to feel this way, so it’s best to seek help if you can.
Unfortunately, it seems that mental health problems and debt go hand in hand. However, there is plenty of help available out there that we will signpost later in the article.
Our minds and bodies are very closely interlinked. For this reason, a lot of mental health concerns can have a knock-on effect on our physical health too.
It may come as no surprise that the stress around any building debt can cause a rise in blood pressure. In the worst cases, high blood pressure can lead to an increased risk of a stroke. Doing what you can to tackle your debt in small, manageable steps with the help of someone you trust can help you try to stay calm, however always visit a doctor for professional advice if high blood pressure is something that you are concerned about.
It’s been proven by researchers time and time again that chronic stress suppresses the immune system. When your body is under constant stress and strain, it becomes more vulnerable to recurring colds and nasty infections. This sickness may lead you to take time off work, which may only make your financial struggles worse – and so the cycle continues.
It’s also common to lose your appetite if you’re feeling anxious about debt. Although a loss of appetite may not affect your health in the short term, it can potentially have consequences further down the line. If you are not getting the nutrition you need, you may feel fatigued and feverish. Trying to keep your eating habits in check. Giving your body the hydration and nutrients it needs will also help your brain to function better. This gives you the best chance of righting your situation.
How to get help
Admitting that it may be time to seek help can be really difficult. However, it’s the first step you can take to a healthier bank balance and, most importantly, a healthier you. Reaching the point where you stop brushing off your physical and mental concerns takes bravery. Once you do however, there are so many ways that you can seek help.
We cannot stress this enough, but if you are struggling with your mental and/or physical health, your local GP should always be your first port of call. Find your nearest GP if you aren’t already registered, and book in to speak with a consultant. You will never be considered a burden, and it is your GP’s job to help and care for you. They are the health experts after all!
If your mental or physical health has been seriously impacted by your debt, it may be worth asking your creditors to write off your debts. There are a lot of different options for debt relief, with a range of criteria to meet. Your best bet is to find a debt advisor who can help you through the process.
Mental health support
There are so many fantastic organisations out there committed to supporting your mental health.
- Samaritans – here to provide emotional support if you are experiencing distress or despair. You can contact a Samaritan in a way that suits you, as they offer their services over the phone, email or face-to-face. You can even write a letter.
- Mind – an amazing charity that provides information and signposting services. Call or email their Infoline to discuss your treatment options and where you can get this help.
- Mental Health & Money Advice – whether your financial debt is impacting your mental health, or your mental illness means that you are struggling to cope with your finances, Mental Health & Money Advice are always available to help. They can give you clear, practical advice and support.
- SHOUT – a 24/7 text service that is free on major mobile networks. This is the best service to turn to if you need immediate help from a trained volunteer.
We have signposted more useful organisations over on our debt advice page.
And don’t forget, we at Fair for You are here to help if you are finding balancing your finances and health difficult. Whilst we can’t offer professional help, we can ease the financial burden. We provide an ethical lending solution that allows you to purchase the items you need on flexible repayment plans that work for you.
All of our services are online. You don’t need to feel the pressure to go into a shop and possibly be upsold to a more expensive item. We’re always on the end of the phone to make your loan application easy, smooth and simple to understand. We aim to provide a service that you can trust, and our customer reviews on Trustpilot speak for themselves.
Find out more about how we work, or contact us to speak to one of our friendly team members.