Finance, debt and your mental health

Depression - Finance, debt and your mental health

Money and mental health problems are too regularly linked. One of the main sources of worry in today’s society is making the money we need to live.

Providing for yourself or your family can be a huge source of worry, leading to stress and anxiety that in turn can develop into bigger problems such as depression or panic attacks. An often seen problem from the effect that your finances can have on your mental health is also how poor mental health can have an equally negative effect on your finances.

The two-way problem

Poor mental health causes all kinds of problems in sufferers with money management. This will often lead to debt that can take a great deal of effort and control to manage properly in order to reduce or remove the debt completely.

Try not to let the problem escalate

One of the main difficulties with problems of finance and mental health is to try and manage the problem before it gets out of hand. Budgeting advice and money management is available from many agencies.

If it does escalate into a serious problem companies such as Creditfix can help guide you through the various options of how to manage your debt and become financially healthy again. Removing this anxiety from your life can provide a large source of reassurance in times where other issues are causing much stress.

Time off work

One of the biggest issues regarding the sufferer’s income is not being able to work. When a mental health problem takes hold this will often mean that the affected person cannot manage the responsibility of his or her day-to-day role. When simply getting out of bed to face the world becomes a problem for sufferers of depression, bi-polar, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and a variety of other conditions, then getting to work, dealing with colleagues, making important decisions and being able to concentrate properly and apply themselves without distraction or difficulty can often seem impossible.

Earning the money they need to survive then becomes a major problem and it’s not just the sufferer that feels the financial implications of their problem. It’s their families, their employers and the economy.

According to the Centre for Mental Health mental health problems cost UK employers £35 billion in 2017. Absence due to sickness was reported to have cost £10.6 billion, staff turnover £3.1 billion and the cost of reduced productivity amassed to a whopping £21.2 billion. It was noted that at any one time one in five workers would be suffering a mental health difficulty affecting their work performance in reduced productivity.

The figures for sickness and staff turnover showed just how many people in the UK were taking time off or leaving employment to try better manage the mental health issue that ailed them.

Manic decisions

Conditions such as bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizoaffective disorder all include behavioural changes and mood swings.

In the effect of a mania or hypomania it’s easy for the sufferer to make impulsive decisions spending money they can’t afford to that may make sense at the time but when that period has dissipated the spending and the debt it could leave behind is still very real and must be dealt with. This increased debt will lead to lower moods, problematic emotional states and inevitably further exacerbated problems from the original condition.

Impulse spending

We can often make the mistake of trying to spend our way out of a disorder that affects our emotional state and our mood. A temporary high from what has become known as retail therapy rarely lasts and will more often add to the problem than alleviate it.

A condition such as ADHD is associated with hyperactivity and acting on impulse. It would be easy for someone with the condition to make hasty buying choices. Even those suffering depression or other mood lowering disorder will find it hard to resist simple ways of trying to lift their mood to retain a normal feeling of functionality.


High levels of anxiety can prevent you from performing basic tasks of money management. Organising payment of bills and other financial commitments can be allowed to fall behind when it seems impossible to pick up the phone or go to the bank. Even handling mail and opening post is often too big a task for many people to face. Falling behind with payments is another way into a debt problem that could have been easily managed when acting in a usual good state of mental health.

Unwanted employment situation

When we start to slide into debt we’re often forced to take on a job we don’t want to, that we don’t or won’t enjoy simply to pay the bills and keep our finances under control. An unhappy work situation can gradually chip away at our mood leading to deeper problems resulting in depression. Once on that slope to poor mental health the poor financial decisions are more likely to take effect and start that spiral of poor mental health feeding poor financial health and vice versa.


Emotional disorders sap the very strength from their sufferers. Without the motivation to get up and go to work it is also unlikely that they will have the motivation to organise their finances or even care what state their financial situation is in. Again, it’s one more event that can lead to the debt spiral, which by feeding itself, will create an out of control situation.


Times of great anxiety and emotional discord put a great deal of stress on relationships. The partner of a sufferer may have to step into the role of providing for both and any children they may have in order to keep their budget healthy through those problematic times. The knock on effect into both of the partners’ social lives removes elements of the healthy activities that can combat poor mental health. Disagreements and tension will only add to the problem that in turn can put an even greater stress on how to handle joint budget issues.

What can you do to help yourself?

There are many methods of getting to the root of the problem; you need to understand your behaviour by either talking to a health care professional or seeking medical or psychological help. You should also take good physical care of yourself by eating the right diet and taking regular exercise.

To make sure that debt doesn’t add further to your problems however, you must organise your budget by seeking appropriate financial advice. Keeping your mental health in order can be appeased by keeping your physical health in check, and as we’ve seen the negative impact it can take you should take as many steps as you can to look after your financial health too.

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