Debt and Mental Health
Dealing with debt can cause a lot of stress
It’s one of the most stressful life events you can go through, so during this time, it’s important to also make sure you’re looking after your mental health, as this can be greatly impacted by your financial situation.
When your debts are building up, you may find it difficult to concentrate on anything else at all, especially with other life events going on – but it’s important to know that you are not alone.
If you’re struggling with your debts right now, have a free chat with our experts.
Signs that you may be struggling
Take some time to check in with yourself and how you are feeling. Common symptoms that debt may be taking a toll on your mental health include:
- Anxiety and stress: You might be struggling to think about other things as clearly and your debts are clouding your thoughts.
- Guilt: Your situation may be causing you to feel guilty about the effect this may be having on you and those around you, regardless of how you may have come into being in debt.
- Embarrassed: Personal financial circumstances are often already awkward to talk about, but this can be heightened when debts are involved and you may feel ashamed about your situation.
- Hopelessness: You might feel that your debts are not budging and seeing a way out of this may feel impossible.
- Sleep Issues: Financial worries may cloud your brain and be causing you to fall asleep. This may occur infrequently or develop into insomnia. Conversely, poor mental health and depression may all leave you exhausted and over-sleeping.
Steps You Can Take
Reach out to your friends/ family
It might be difficult to open up initially to those around you about your mental and financial situation, but you may feel a lot of relief after having done so. They may be able to offer support but even a listening ear can make a huge difference to how you’re feeling.
Speak to professionals
You may be able to seek support from individuals or a registered charity who are qualified to talk to you about your mental health, and they may be able to suggest routes for you to take which may help.
In regards to your debt, there’s also help out there from people like ourselves, who are happy to give you free and honest support about your finances. Many of our past customers have reported feeling more positive after taking an initial step to pick up the phone to us.
Speak to Your Creditors Directly
In some circumstances, you may be able to have debt written off by your creditors if you let them know of your mental health issues that you are dealing with. Many have their own protocols and policies in place to support consumers.
Do Some Research
There are debt solutions out there that are designed to alleviate stress and manage your debts. In addition, there may be benefits or other schemes that you may qualify for which may help your situation.
Take a Step Back
If you are struggling with your mental health, it may be difficult to muster the energy to focus on anything else. If you can, it may help to take a walk outside or do a small activity which may help clear your head away from work or your usual routine.
It is very common for people struggling with their mental health to have spending sprees, regardless of whether or not they are in debt. This is likely to make your situation worse in the long run, so be mindful of your spending habits and avoid any impulsive decisions.
‘Breathing Space’ and Mental Health Crisis Support
One of the most recent schemes introduced by the government is something called ‘Breathing Space’ for those in debt.
There is an option for Breathing Space available to those receiving Mental Health Crisis Treatment – this involves interest and charges being frozen for the duration of the treatment, plus 30 days following its completion
Will I Be Able To Qualify?
In order to qualify for Breathing Space, you must not be undergoing any other solution for your debts – eg. Debt Relief Order, IVA etc.
Also, an Approved Mental Health Professional will need to certify that you are receiving treatment. When this evidence has been issued, a Debt Advisor may apply for breathing space for you.
How Do I Apply?
You can apply to a debt advisor yourself for a Mental Health Crisis breathing space, or others can apply on your behalf.
Likewise, you may apply for someone else who you know to be struggling with their debts and receiving treatment for their mental health crisis.
Eligible people to apply on someone else’s behalf include:
- A carer
- Mental Health nurses
- Social workers / other social care professionals
- A representative of the person in debt
- Approved Mental Health Professionals
Mental Health Charities
There is support out there for you if you’re struggling.
We have listed charities that offer advice and support on your mental wellbeing below. They may be able to offer support over the phone or face-to-face support:
At Money Advice, we offer free and confidential support regarding your debts. If you are wishing to speak to someone about your mental health, we would encourage you to reach out to a charity or professional who specialise in this support. We have listed some suggestions above.