Debt causes mental illness and mental illness causes debt.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and these two issues are intertwined. And yet, both issues still have a stigma attached. As well as the obvious financial impact of debt, there is also an emotional impact of having unaffordable debt – including depression, denial, stress, and fear.
There is often a disappointing misconception that people find themselves in debt due to living an excessive lifestyle or overindulging with credit cards and store cards. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Unemployment, a change in circumstances such as a new baby being welcomed into the family, and redundancy are actually three of the most common triggers for debt problems. And it can happen to anyone, no matter what their attitude to money may have been in the past.
Much of debt-related depression and anxiety can be due to a lack of support from creditors and from the individual’s surrounding family, friends and employers. Because of the stigma attached to having debt, many people avoid telling family and friends about their situation.
Debt can be a considerable burden, made worse by dealing with it alone. Another issue of debt anxiety is the lack of sleep it can often cause.
During this time of uncertainty, these stresses can begin to feel overwhelming, and even before the spread of Coronavirus, research showed that almost 20% of people with a mental health issue also have problem debt.
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Now more than ever, we need to re-discover kindness in our daily lives.
“We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.
Kindness unlocks our shared humanity and is central for our mental health. It has the potential to bring us together with benefits for everyone, particularly at times of great stress.
One thing we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times, helping people to connect and communities to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Earlier this month, the Mental Health Foundation also reported that 33% of Scottish adults in full-time work are worried about losing their jobs. A similar percentage reported that they are worried about their finances, such as bill payments and debt.
Having enough money to pay all our bills allows us to provide for our families, plan for the future, and enjoy life.
And stress caused by debt may be hard to define, but it manifests itself in obvious ways – lack of sleep, loss of focus, nagging worry, and relationship breakdowns.
Questions to ask yourself if you think you may have a debt problem
- Do I feel anxious when thinking about how I will manage my repayments?
- Do I avoid checking how much I owe my lenders?
- Do I routinely miss the minimum payments towards utility bills, credit cards or rent?
- Do I avoid telephone calls from unknown numbers?
- Do I leave bills unopened, or stuff them in a drawer?
- Am I unable to set aside money for a sudden and unexpected reduction in my income such as redundancy, vet bills or emergency car repairs?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider getting debt advice.
Mental Health Awareness Week Scotland
Trust Deed Scotland® is the leading debt advice company in Scotland and has pledged to support Mental Health Awareness Week by providing guidance and support to anyone who is struggling with their debts during the campaign week and then throughout the rest of the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
A spokesman advised “Mental Health Awareness Week is an important week in the calendar for all debt advisors as the publicity that it generates can help give some individuals the confidence to seek help with their financial difficulties. The emotional impact of debt – Depression, denial, stress and fear can sometimes be understated.”
Trust Deed Scotland® have helped over 20,000 become debt-free and specialise in Scottish debt help solutions and our experts debt advisors are experienced in advising on not only Trust Deeds but other Scottish debt solutions which include the Debt Arrangement Scheme.