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 a few services you can turn to if you’re struggling.
The link between debt and mental health issues
Unfortunately, financial problems and poor mental health are linked and can quickly create a difficult cycle to break. Money and Mental Health’s research found that almost half of the 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 experienced 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.
Understanding debt-related stress
Unmanaged debt can have negative effects on your mental health, potentially leading to conditions such as depression. Depression can make it hard to sleep or eat, and you may stop doing things you used to enjoy. You might feel like things are never going to get better and start to feel really bad about yourself. This can affect your daily life a lot. However, the right help and support can make a big difference in feeling better.
Unfortunately, it seems that mental health problems and debt go hand in hand. There is, however, plenty of help available out there that is signposted later in the article.
The link between debt and physical health issues
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.
Doing what you can to tackle your debt in small, manageable steps with the help of someone you trust, can help; however, always visit a doctor for professional advice if there is something that you are concerned about.
Understanding debt-related stress
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. Try 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.
Managing debt-related stress
In terms of managing your debt-related stress, there are measures you can put in place to alleviate the stress you’re feeling. This could include…
Talking to a friend or family member
It’s often said that a problem shared is a problem halved, so if you feel comfortable sharing your problems with someone close to you, your struggles may seem more manageable. Whoever you speak to about your situation does not need to have the ability to solve your problems, it could be a close friend or family member.
Speaking to your GP
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.
Consider a Debt Relief Order
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, that are all explained on the government website here.
Overcoming debt-related stress
There is no quick fix to overcoming debt-related stress and mental health issues; however, there are things you can do to alleviate the financial pressure you’re under. The following approaches could be beneficial:
Identify your spending habits
Reviewing what you’re spending your money on is a good way to spot overspending and habits that you could cut down on to give yourself more money.
Set a budget
Once you’ve identified your spending habits, setting and sticking to a budget can help you save additional money that you can put towards paying off debts.
Make a plan
Taking a proactive approach to managing and dealing with your debt can help you feel more in control of your situation. Identifying the largest or most critical challenge you’re facing, whether it’s a big debt or there’s a certain deadline looming, and planning how you’ll address this can be motivating.
The importance of seeking help
Admitting that it may be time to seek help can be really difficult, but 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.
How to seek help
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 Samaritans in a way that suits you, as they offer their services over the phone, by email or face-to-face. You can even write a letter.
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.
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 available to help 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.