Debt, Loneliness and Mental Health
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, from 9th to 15th May, focuses on loneliness.
Loneliness has a clear impact on our mental wellbeing. Last year, one in three of our clients who had a debt issue had or are likely to have had a mental health issue, according to our data. Of those clients, almost half reported living on their own.
According to the Global Council on Brain Health and Cacioppo, J.T. and Cacioppo, S., loneliness can cause cognitive decline and depression. This is a concern when it comes to debt, which has been shown to situations worse. Equally, a poor mental health condition can make a financial situation worse.
How does debt make the situation worse?
Debt can cause someone to worry and feel stressed and anxious. However, there is a more direct way that debt can make a bad situation worse.
Loneliness can be far harder to overcome if you’re in debt because social activities often require money. Driving to visit friends or paying for a membership to a social club may be impossible.
The combination of debt and poor mental health can even push people into something known as ‘debt suicide’.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute suggest that every year, 13% of people with problem debt consider taking their own lives. Their research showed that in 2017, 1/4 of everyone who tried to take their own lives had problem debt.
They also found that people with more than one debt were far more likely to try and take their own lives.
‘Living in poverty has the equivalent cognitive impact of going a night without sleep or losing 13 IQ points. This can cause a serious impact on how people manage their finances, making their financial and mental health situations worse.’Anandi Mani, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir and Jiaying Zhao
What difference do we make?
If you’re worried about paying bills then it is critical that you seek help immediately. We have a long partnership with Bath Mind and together, last year, we helped over 100 people with their mental health and financial concerns. In addition to the positive mental health results, we also generate over £185,000 of financial outcomes for them.
One of our clients was referred to us from Bath Mind. The financial, physical and mental costs of post-traumatic stress put the client at risk of losing their home. We helped them with their benefits appeal, resulting in back-dated benefits payments of £2,690. They will also receive £150 per week in benefits for 3years.
They said: “. I am now feeling hopeful and on the road of recovery as I now can have regular EMDR therapy sessions and am not worried about losing my home.”
A single mother was struggling to feed her children due to unfair deductions being made to her Universal Credit payments. She came to us for debt advice. We got her rent arrears paid and managed to stop the deductions. We also managed to get her and her children into more suitable accommodation.
She said: “I can now cope with situations which I once hid from and was why I got in to such a mess, and that is because of all your support and advice and showing me there are people that can help!”
Things you could do for Mental Health Awareness Week:
- Learn about the signs of a mental health problem, so you can offer support when someone needs it.
- When people have better knowledge of mental health it reduces the chances of discrimination against those who are suffering.
- Make a donation so we can help more people.
- Share this article so that more people are aware.