How to cope with the stress of debt

Posted 12 March 2015

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Feeling worried about your debts can often lead to stress, anxiety or even depression. For information on how to cope with this, follow our guide.


If you owe money and you are struggling to repay it then it’s natural to feel worried about your situation. But over time, the worry that you feel can start to evolve into stress, anxiety or even depression. The link between debt and mental health is well known, and it’s estimated that as many as 90 percent of the people who are in debt feel anxious or depressed. So, how can you ease your stress when in debt?

Accept your debts as a problem

If you’ve got problem debt, it’s often not just your finances that are affected, it’s your whole life. Everything from your wellbeing to your home life can start to feel as though it’s controlled by the money that you owe. To tackle the worry and stress that you feel, it’s important to accept your debts as a problem.


You may never have intended for your borrowings to spiral out of control in the way that they have, but you need to acknowledge that you can’t fix them on your own.

Talk to someone

Dealing with debt alone can be an isolating experience, especially when you’re trying to cope with feelings of stress on top of this. So if you’re in this situation try to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. This may seem like an incredibly daunting thing to do, but sharing the burden with someone else will help to relieve some of the stress that’s been building up.


Confiding in someone that you know and trust could help to give you the support and comfort that you need. Opening up about your debts isn’t going to be easy, but letting a family member or a friend know what you’ve been facing will not only relieve some of your stress, they may also help you take the next step and start to tackle the problem. If you’re finances are linked with your partner’s then it is only fair to let them know about any debts that could have an impact on them. For a step-by-step guide on how to come clean to your partner, click here.

If the stress that you feel has evolved into anxiety or depression. Then mental health organisations such as Mind or the Samaritans will be able to provide you with the appropriate guidance and support. Feel safe in the knowledge that you will be able to speak to these organisations in confidence.


Depression is not a condition where you can ‘think yourself better’. So, if you’re feeling this way, it’s important that you seek professional help. Try to book an appointment with your GP, who will be able to discuss the different options with you.

Seek help

One of the worst side-effects of debt is the way that it makes you feel. It is important to remember that you aren’t alone and, however bad your debt problem, there is always a solution.


Impartial and confidential debt advice is available from charities and the Money Advice Service or you could speak to one of our expert advisors. They won’t judge you … but they will listen to your circumstances and talk to you through the different debt solutions that are available (some of which fees apply). Our advisors are fully trained to deal with people in your situation, so don’t be afraid to talk to them about the full extent of your debt problem. Speaking to a debt advisor won’t completely ease the stress that you feel overnight, but knowing that there is a solution could take you one step closer towards regaining control of your life again.

by Sarah Symons

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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.