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How debt stress and mental health are linked

Debt causes worry and stress for thousands if not millions of people. When stress goes undealt with for a long time, it can cause anxiety, depression and other symptoms that indicate that your mental health is being affected.

Feeling stressed when dealing with debt or other unpleasant things in life is not a sign of weakness. It’s a natural human reaction that can be made easier to face with the right support. 

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What are the signs of debt-related stress?

There are many signs to look out for when you suspect that your debt problem is affecting your mental health. Here are just some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Feeling sad, sick or overburdened by the thought of your debt
  • Not being able to sleep or eat properly due to worrying about debt
  • Feeling withdrawn from friends, family and loved ones due to worrying over debt
  • Underperforming at work or in your studies due to worrying over debt
  • Worsening symptoms of an existing case of depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses

Where can I get help for my debt-related stress?

There are several things you can do when dealing with debt related stress:

Talk to your doctor

If you’ve been feeling worried, sad or exhausted by your debt problems, your doctor can help. Telling them what you’re dealing with means they can look into different therapies that may help you through this difficult time. They may also be able to put you in touch with people who can help, such as us, or a mental health charity such as Sane or Mind.

Consider talking to us

We’re a free and confidential debt advice charity and we help thousands of people each week. However, we understand that sometimes just the thought of taking action on your debt can be extremely stressful. That’s why we’ve put together a section on our website where you can find out why you should trust us with your debt problem.

Visit Debt in Mind

Debt in Mind is a hub for people who are struggling with debt problems and the anxiety it can cause. Debt in Mind can show you how to deal with your debts in a straight-forward, easy to manage way. It can also give you more information about mindfulness, an easy to follow meditative practice that can help you deal with stress in a practical, healthy way.

Talk to a friend, family member or loved one

Keeping the things that worry you to yourself can often make them much more difficult to deal with. Sharing your problems with someone who will understand and support you can help. More practically, they may be able to help you go through financial paperwork and look at how to remedy the situation. If you prefer, they can also talk to us about your debts on your behalf.

Send your creditors a debt and mental health evidence form

If you're dealing with a mental health issue that can affect your ability to repay what you owe, it may help you to let your creditors know.

If you send a debt and mental health evidence form (DMHEF), completed by a health or social care worker, your creditors may be more considerate when dealing with you.

Free debt advice you can trust

There are two ways we can help you deal with your debt problem more practically. Our online advice tool can help you put together a personal action plan, at any time of the day that suits you. Alternatively, visit our contact us page to find out how you can discuss your debts with one of our friendly advisors over the telephone.