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Wellbeing

Debt and depression – part one

Posted 10 October 2015 by Christine Walsh

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Feeling a little down about your debt problems is to be expected, but feeling like there’s no way out is an issue you need help with. Let us point you in the right direction.

You may not know this, but today is World Mental Health Day. It’s organised by the Mental Health Foundation to promote mental health awareness and education. So, we thought it was the right thing to do to address the issue of debt and how it can impact on people’s mental, and even physical, wellbeing.

Now, most people have some form of personal debt and most are able to pay it off gradually and without any detriment to their mental or emotional health. However, it is important to understand that for some people the stress, and other negative feelings associated with being in unmanageable debt can become overwhelming. We all react differently to pressures in our lives and how bad it gets can depend on so many different factors, like how much support you have around you and whether there are any other existing mental or physical problems at play. 

If you’re feeling like you’re drowning in debt and you want to get help, read on.  

The impact of debt on mental health

First of all, if you are experiencing depression or other mental health problems due to debt right now you are not alone. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, half of people who have problem debts also have a mental health problem. And the mental health charity Mind, frequently carries out research into how debt can affect your wellbeing.

Stephen Weatherhead is a clinical psychologist employed by the NHS and working at Lancaster University. He is also the editor of Clinical Psychology Forum and Director of the Division of Clinical Psychology’s Professional Standards Unit. He has focused his work on the effects of social/financial struggles on mental wellbeing. He says, “We are all aware that social and financial struggles can have a huge impact on a person’s psychological wellbeing.” So, it seems that the idea that problem debts can lead to depression is already established and backed-up with solid science. For more info on Stephen’s work in mental health in relation to social inequalities visit his website.

If you are in this situation, you probably just want to know that that the stress and worry is going to end, and that life will get better. And, thankfully, we can say, without a doubt, that there’s always a solution, no matter how hopeless you think the situation might be. If you feel like you need to talk to someone right now about how you feel, The Samaritans are available to call free on 116 123 any time of the day or night and will talk through any problems you have.  

There’s also a very helpful page on the NHS’s website with advice and details of other helplines out there, all with dedicated staff ready and willing to help with various issues.

Expressing how you feel

It’s normal to feel scared or uncomfortable at the thought of opening up about feelings of depression. Time to Change, is dedicated to ending the stigma around mental illness and points out that beginning a conversation can be a good starting point on the road to recovery. At the same time you do need to make sure that you talk about it in the right way and with the right person. By this we mean that you speak to someone you trust, who does not have any financial interest in you paying your debts off, and who really provides a sense of support rather than judgment.

If you’re experiencing feelings of despair and hopelessness, but you don’t feel ready to talk to someone about it, then consider whether writing it down will help at all. Research has shown that some people find it easier to express themselves in writing, rather than face-to–face, and you might find that you’re better able to communicate exactly how you feel this way too.

If there’s someone you feel you could trust, but you don’t want to talk out loud, then you could suggest that they read what you’ve written down. Whatever you’re feeling, you don’t have to go through these difficult times alone. There’s always someone out there who wants to help.

There’s always a way out

It’s easy to discuss problem debt and forget that there is a person actually going through it and very real, intense emotions are involved. Here at Debt advisory Centre we understand the impact that debt can have on your quality of life. But we have also helped over 400,000 people find a way out, so we know it can be done. If your debts are unmanageable, contact us using the options to the left. If you’re at a very low point, seek emotional support first from an organisation like The Samaritans, and then turn to someone like us or the Money Advice Service for practical help.

We hope that our post has convinced you that there is always a way to manage problem debt and that it doesn’t have to have a lasting impact on your life.  What’s more there are plenty of places to go for both emotional and financial support: people who won’t judge you, but who can help you. One of the reasons why people may feel so low about their debt is because they aren’t aware of the many debt solutions which can result in them becoming debt free. At Debt Advisory Centre we provide personalised advice and will always recommend the right debt solution for you.

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.