How Debt Affects Your Mental Health - Carrington Dean stars-five-icons

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10.10.2018

How Debt Affects Your Mental Health

Here’s wishing you happy mental health – not just today but all year round.

As we’re beginning to talk more openly about our mental health and how it impacts so many of us in our daily lives, it’s pretty important to understand the things we can do to limit the consequences of the many pressures that bring about those types of problems.

World Mental Health Day was first observed in 1992, instigated by the World Federation for Mental Health by their then Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. The idea behind it back then was to raise awareness toward general mental health issues but the Federation soon saw the benefits of highlighting specific areas each year and this year their chosen theme is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. ‘Hear hear’ we say. The world is a fast-moving and complicated place for all of us, and it certainly has its impact on the lives of our younger generations. They’re beginning their adult lives amidst all the current administrations and problems of the world after all. Politics, news, the share of information, the economy, jobs, housing; each are paramount not only in what we deal with day-to-day but they have an instant impact on how we survive.

It’s no surprise that our finances are one of the leading factors that can bring about anxiety and raise mental health issues. And falling into unmanageable debt can feel like a black hole we may never climb out of.

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Debt and poor mental health are pretty lousy bedfellows. They encourage each other, amplify the problems of their opposite and neither attribute are things we want in our everyday life.

It’s been shown that poor mental health can lead to debt problems. We make less well thought through decisions when we’re not thinking properly. Sufferers with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mentally overwhelming disorders are often driven to use spending as self-medication, or in times of mania, the idea of budgeting will be completely disregarded when the feeling of invincibility takes over. It’s only when the realisation of what this behavior has created and the excess of problems it will create further down the line that the stresses and anxieties take over and push the sufferer deeper into their emotional problems as well as their financial ones.

If we can take either one of these problems off the table it should at least be a positive step towards preventing the other from becoming worse. We can only suggest activities or treatments to help manage mental health problems but where we really can help is finding the correct way to getting you clear of your current money problems.

How are we doing our bit to help?

Money is a stress to all of us. Earning it, saving it, buying a house, paying the rent, covering the bills, feeding the kids, putting fuel in the car – without it, we grind to a halt, and when we don’t have enough, if we lose our job, or the boiler packs up at the same time as the car needs four new tyres, then it could be just enough to knock us off track and into the debt spiral we never expected to fall into.

If you’re struggling with debt, there’s always an answer

There are so many options in dealing with debt problems you should never be short of an answer in the best way to deal with your situation. We understand that everybody’s lives are different and because of that we also see the bigger picture. From our wealth of experience, we want to guide you through which route is the best for you.

Dealing with your mental health during a debt crisis

The last thing we feel like doing in the middle of a breakdown, depression, high anxiety or other mental health problem is to face more trouble. We lose the strength we need to tackle the world and all of its problems so taking on that debt problem will feel like a mountain to climb. So what should you do?

Share the problem.

A support network is vital to those with mental health issues. We’re encouraged to talk about our problems for a reason – it’s because it helps lessen the burden. The chemicals our brains make when we feel someone cares are a real boost of exactly what we need. So start talking: tell somebody and let them help. You’re not asking for money or for anyone to solve your problems for you but having someone to make sure you go to appointments, someone who’ll be there with you when talking to the banks or the people you owe money to, just to help support you through it, is invaluable.

Make a plan to conquer your debt

As mentioned, there are range of debt management options, and one of them could well be your answer: debt management plans, consolidation loans, debt arrangement schemes, debt relief orders, bankruptcy – there are so many available options, and once you’ve started attacking the problem your brain will start to relax a little, as we produce healthy head chemicals when we start dealing with our problems, and some of those anxieties will start to dissipate. Getting out of debt isn’t a quick and easy process but it is always possible. And with one less thing to worry about that’s one big step in the right direction to a mentally healthier life.

Stay physically and mentally healthy

Mental and physical health are very closely linked. It’s been proven that exercise and physical activity can provide many of the elements we need to combat poor mental health. It creates the chemicals our brains like to feel good about ourselves. So eat healthy, take exercise, do something that makes you sweat every day. It’s a good start to helping yourself feel better.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There are many organisations involved in the field of mental health now, so the first step you should take is to talk to your GP, explain just how you feel and they should make recommendations for the appropriate treatment options out there to help you and your situation.

There may be specialist organisations in your area where you can receive advice too. Find out where they are and make an appointment to talk to somebody. Taking the first step is often hard but you’ll be glad you did when you start to feel all the benefits it brings.

In the same way you’d talk to a health practitioner to deal with those problems then seek out the same help for your financial health. An expert can share all the options and the best part is that their advice should always be free.

Prevention is better than cure

If you’ve managed a debt problem, whether in the throes of a mental health crisis or not, you’ll have first-hand experience of the pressures it creates and the relief that comes from achieving a clean bill of financial health. Use this knowledge to plan for the future and make sure you take sensible steps to avoid matters getting out of hand again. Create a budget you can live with. One that helps you save a little each month to build up a safety net for any financial emergencies.

If you need any help dealing with your debts, and would like to speak with a friendly non-judgmental advisor then call us for free on 0141 326 0385.