Worrying about debt is putting pressure on some people’s mental and physical health, new research has found.
The latest study by debt advice and solutions provider Debt Advisory Centre has revealed that a third (33.6%) of UK adults worry about their debts either ‘often’ or ‘all of the time’. This is equivalent to nearly 17 million people across the country.
However, it’s not just people’s finances that are suffering. Of the individuals who found themselves worrying about debt sometimes, often or constantly, nearly a third (31.7%) revealed their mental health had been affected as a result.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, around a quarter of all adults will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. However, this rises to one in two among people with debt problems.
Constantly worrying about the household finances can leave a person feeling exhausted, anxious and hopeless, and if they have tried to conceal the problem from their loved ones it can also put a strain on relationships. In fact, DAC’s survey revealed that more than one in three respondents (35.3%) said worrying about debt had put pressure on their relationship with family members.
People in their mid-30s to 40s were most likely to see their mental health as being at risk because of money worries. More than one in three (38.6%) 35 to 44 year olds who worried about their debts on more than the rare occasion said their mental wellbeing had been impacted as a result. As this age group is the most likely to have a large mortgage and a young family to support, it could be that they are under more pressure financially than other age groups.
Yet their mental health was not the only thing people in debt felt was at risk because they were so preoccupied with their finances. More than one in four (28.7%) respondents who worried about debt said they feared it was having an impact on their physical health and wellbeing too.
DAC spokesman Ian Williams said:
“The link between mental health problems and problem debt is well established. Although there is a wide range of face-to-face, online and telephone debt advice available, for many people taking the first step to share their debt problem is the hardest thing to do. But those who do seek help often find things start to improve very quickly. In fact, many of our clients report feeling relief after just the first phone call with one of our advisors, because somebody has listened to them without judging them and they’ve taken the first positive step towards resolving their debt problem.”