The propensity of mortgages, credit cards and leased cars in the UK means that most of us are in debt to some extent. It is only when that debt can no longer be managed and paid off at regular intervals that it becomes stressful.
There is a fine line between feeling on top of your debt and losing control of it. Everything can be going brilliantly and then an unforeseen life event such as job loss, divorce or ill health turns everything on its head.
When you can no longer keep up with debt repayments, the interest rates start to bite and what you owe quickly towers over what you earn. It is at this point that your debt becomes a burden and this can seriously affect your mental health.
When debt affects your mood
There is a strong link between debt problems and worsening mental health and it’s not helped by the fact that when your mental health is bad you become less adept at managing your money and so the debt can easily spiral.
The first thing to do is accept that you have a problem with debt and think about what triggered it. Once you have acknowledged this it is much easier to identify and seek the help that you need to get back in control of your debt and reduce the strain on your mental health at the same time.
Job loss-related debt
Losing your job is a big knock to your confidence and your bank balance. If you don’t find a replacement job with an equivalent salary straight away those managed debts can quickly become unmanageable. Citizens Advice will help you to budget for your new reduced income, advise you on the benefits available to you and manage your debt, so that you can get it back under control. They can also provide additional support for those who are out of work due to ill-health.
The break up of a live-in relationship often causes an increase in debt. Instead of splitting the bills, you now have to pay the full amount and if there are children and legal fees involved too, your finances will take a severe knock. The relationship support charity Relate offers advice and support on financial matters caused by a relationship breakdown and if your ex is withholding financial support from you, the Money Advice Service provides help to those suffering from financial abuse.
Mental health support
If the stress of feeling no longer in control of your debt is seriously impacting your mental health and you are finding it difficult to cope, don’t just seek help with your debt, reach out for support with your mental health too.
However, big your debt problem feels it can be surmounted. Thousands of people have experienced what you are dealing with and, by reaching out for help and support, they’ve got their spending under control and are feeling a whole lot happier.