Efficacy Explores the Strong Link Between Debt and Mental Health

As many people struggle with debt in January following a busy Holiday Season, we highlight some things people can do to remove some of the stress and advise that seeking help can put you in the right headspace to tackle your money problems.

A recent study by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) has found that those with a mental illness are more than three times as likely to have problem debt. Understanding the link between the two factors is vital to treatment and recovery, so we must also address the converse statement: those with debt are three times more likely to have a mental illness. 

People assume that manic spending is an impulsive act, but this is not always the case. Many factors contribute to stress about financial difficulties and are not just about spending money to feel better or escape problems. Often it is not late-night scrolling through shopping websites that lead to problem spending; instead, around the Holiday Season debt comes from an over-generosity and overestimating our capabilities while not wanting to let loved ones down.

The amount of debt someone has is not directly related to the levels of stress about it. Just £200 of liability for one person could be a significant problem for another. Alleviating some of the fears in your life can help to put your life back on track, getting you more in control of your financial situation. 

We want to highlight some key steps in beginning your recovery to less debt:  

Do something that makes you feel good about yourself – this may sound like an obvious thing to do if youre feeling down, but many habits around problem spending stem from low self-esteem. Comparing ourselves to others, wanting to keep up with the latest trends and finding worth in what we can purchase are all behaviours that we are guilty of doing, but when it goes beyond our financial means to do so, thats when things can get out of control. From cooking to playing cards to doing a public talk on a specialist topic - taking charge and doing something you feel confident in can give you the boost you may need to start kicking bad spending habits. 

Be active with finding help – this problem isnt going to go away by itself. Chances are if you are reading this article you recognise there is a problem and are seeking advice from an expert. There are many services available throughout the UK to help you manage your finances. If you want to control your behaviours in the future, you may need to talk to a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist to better understand any personal triggers. CBT helps you to recognise how past behaviours affect your future and then working with your therapist to develop techniques that work for you.

Be more aware of what is going on around you – Dont bury your head in the sand by ignoring the signs. Being aware of situations that make you feel uncomfortable, out of control or anxious, you can see things better for what they. 

Get excited about the future again – you may have been in debt so long that it is hard to see the light at the end of the financial tunnel, but planning can play a significant role in recovery. Plan a budget for the year, month, week or even day. Seeing through a goal to the end, regardless of how small it may seem, are all steps that will make you feel better and ideally get you on your way to more financial control. 

Dont let the cycle of anxiety spending affect your future. Many people are walking around with crippling debt and, unfortunately, their mental health is suffering the consequences. Efficacy Therapists understand debt is a widespread problem and can lead to much more severe issues like addiction and sabotage at work.  

We are here for support if you want help to manage the psychological effects of financial difficulty. 


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