Mental health and debt – an unhealthy relationship

Mental health and debt – an unhealthy relationship

Debt comes in many shapes and sizes and can have a wide range of impacts on both the person in debt and their family and friends. While awareness of debt issues has risen, there is still a lack of understanding of how to deal with debt and where to seek advice. R3’s recent research found that people in debt are more likely to ask a friend than to turn to a professional advisor.

Mental health issues also come in many different forms, and can have a wide range of impacts on both the person themselves and their family and friends. Although the profile of mental health issues has risen, more needs to be done to ensure that no one feels they are alone and know where to seek help. Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to continue to share experiences of mental health issues and to promote where you can find help.

Most insolvency professionals come across people in debt who are also suffering mental health issues. Why is there a cross over between the two issues? In some respects it is a “catch 22”:

  • Debt can lead to stress and a feeling of a loss of control. Debt often comes hand in hand with triggers such as ill health, loss of job or income, or relationship breakdown. Debt and any one or more of these triggers can lead to new, or a recurrence of, mental health issues;
  • Ill health in any form can lead to debt. Ill health, including mental health, can reduce your earning capacity, let you take your “eye off the ball” and not deal with bills and paperwork, increase your outgoings, or any combination of those factors. If you are already in debt you may find yourself unable to service your financial obligations, and may see the amount you owe increase; or you may find yourself in debt for the first time, just when the last thing you need is another problem to tackle

So debt and mental health issues often go hand in hand, as R3’s research with ComRes found – 1 in 4 British adults’ mental h

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About the author:
Eleanor qualified in 1998 into the insolvency team at ASB law. She became a partner in 2005, and went on to head up the Recovery & Insolvency team. Whilst traditionally specialising mainly in contentious corporate insolvency matters, in recent years she has moved into the non contentious arena, in particular specialising in company administrations.