Are Debt And Mental Health Connected?
Debt is about more than having to give a portion of your money away each money to one of your creditors.
Debt is also about the emotional strain that you might have to go through when thinking about and dealing with your debts.
You see, debt and mental health are connected, as there are stressful worries attached.
If you’re currently in debt, this might be of no surprise to you.
You might already be experiencing those ‘what if’ questions that could cause you a great degree of stress.
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- What if I can’t make my payments this month?
- What if I can’t cover my other expenses because of my debt?
- What if my debts will never go away?
If you are struggling with such questions, know that you are not alone.
Many people experience stress with debt, and you can get an idea of the problem here.
It’s a common issue, although knowing you’re not alone might do little to ease your worries.
Any Debt Can Cause Emotional Stress
According to one clinical psychologist, unsecured debts are less likely to cause stress.
Such debts include those associated with credit cards, car loans, medical bills, and money owed to utility companies.
Secured debts, such as mortgages, are sometimes seen as being less stressful because there is a positive outcome.
There is an end in sight to a mortgage, with homeownership being the final result.
In some cases, this can have a positive effect on a person’s mental health too, as they will feel happy about their progression in life.
However, any debt can cause emotional stress, even with a mortgage, as if a person was struggling to make payments each month, they face the prospect of losing their home.
It’s all about the debt-income ratio.
If a person can afford to pay off the debt because their income allows them to make sizeable repayments each month, then they are less likely to face anxiety and worry.
On the flip side, if a person is already struggling to make ends meet, then they will face that added financial pressure when trying to pay off their debts.
They might only have the finances to make minimum payments, meaning that stress will be prolonged because the debt will take much longer to clear.
Mental Health Problems Can Lead To More Debt
Debt can lead to mental health problems, but these very same health issues can also lead to debt.
According to one UK report, people with mental health issues are three-and-a-half times more likely to get into problems with debt.
As you can read in the article, the reasons for this are:
- Somebody with depression might try to alleviate the way they feel by spending money. This can lead to credit card, store card, and catalogue debts if they use these methods to ‘comfort spend.’
- Low moods and poor concentration can affect some people’s ability to handle their finances correctly. Without the capacity to budget effectively or to control their spending, they might face debt problems down the line.
- Mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to stay in work, with the upshot being that they don’t have the financial means to manage their debts.
When it comes to debt then, people might find themselves in a vicious cycle.
Debt can lead to depression, and that can lead to more debt.
This will be of little surprise to you if you can identify with what we are saying.
And even if you aren’t facing a debt problem yourself, chances are, you might know somebody who is, be they a friend, family member, neighbour, or work colleague.
The Effects Of Debt
When in a debt situation, a person might experience the following.
Resentment – They might resent their employer for not paying them enough to pay off their debts. They might resent their partner who has brought the problem of debt into their household. And they might resent themselves for falling into the debt trap in the first place.
Marital Friction – According to studies, financial arguments are a leading predictor of divorce. The stresses associated with debt could lead to these arguments, resulting in more stress when there is disharmony in the home.
Denial – Rather than face their debts, a person might ‘bury their head in the sand’ in an attempt to forget about them. Those already suffering from depression or stress might do this to make life easier for themselves. Rather than opening a letter from their bank or credit card company, they might hide these letters away. It’s a common habit, but this can only lead to more debt, as interest charges will rise, and more stress, as those letters will keep on coming.
Shame – A person might experience feelings of low self-worth because of the shame they feel. They might feel inferior to their friends and family members who are doing better than them financially, and they might neglect to share their problems with others in fear of embarrassment and ridicule. Needless to say, without support from others, the person might struggle to escape their debts.
A person might also experience feelings of fear, anger, and regret.
Any one of the feelings we have discussed here can lead to stress and problems with depression, and a mix of these will obviously have further repercussions for a person’s mental wellbeing.
Debt Relief Can Lead To Mental Relief
Debt can have negative consequences on a person’s well-being, but there can be light at the end of the dark tunnel.
It is possible to become free from debt, and consequently, have that freedom from stress and worry.
If you are struggling with debt, get help as soon as possible.
Here at Bankruptcy Canada, we have access to a number of trustees who can help you manage your debt problem.
While bankruptcy is one option, there could be other solutions available to you.
Get in touch with us using the contact details on our website and benefit from the help we can give you.
Debt relief can lead to mental relief, so if you have related to this post, know that you don’t have to face your worries alone.