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Debt can be a mindfield

Debt in Mind: Taking control of debt and stress

Stress and anxiety are real problems for many people in the UK. If left unchecked, stress can lead to more serious mental health problems, which is reflected in the fact that a quarter of a million people miss work because of stress every day*.

When you need help with things such as debt, disputes, housing issues and bills, the worry that arises can take its toll on your wellbeing. It can also affect how you interact with friends, family, loved ones and colleagues.

If you work in a customer-facing role, it's worth taking a closer look at the problems your customers are dealing with and the stress they are no doubt feeling. There's a high chance that stress, anxiety and other mental health issues are affecting their wellbeing.

We know that you want to help and support as many people as possible, however you can. So do we.

In partnership with

Mental Health Foundation

Supported by

Mental Health Foundation

Debt in Mind is a joint effort between StepChange Debt Charity and Mental Health Foundation (MHF). It's the first partnership of its kind, uniting debt advice and mental health information.

While StepChange Debt Charity are the experts in free debt advice, MHF provide information and guidance on how to keep stress at a healthy, manageable level. Introducing Debt in Mind to people in your workplace may help them deal more effectively with the money worries they could be facing in their own lives.

Mental Health and Debt statistics

Why is it important to deal with stress?

It’s estimated that one in four people will suffer some kind of mental health problem over the course of a year**. And based on research carried out as part of the MHF Living With Anxiety 2014 report, some of the most common reasons for stress are money, finance and debt worries.

By taking steps to manage their finances, and incorporating mindfulness techniques from MHF into their lives, people may find that their stress levels are much easier to manage.

Help your creditors understand your situation

If you're dealing with any mental health issues (including stress and anxiety) while also dealing with debts, it can help to let your creditors know.

You can do this by sending them a 'debt and mental health evidence form' (DMHEF) completed by a health or social care worker. This may encourage them to be more considerate when dealing with you.

Tools to help customers and colleagues manage debt and stress

Stress can cause debt.

7 Days, 7 Ways helps people to take small steps to deal with their debt, and helps generate a positive 'can do' approach to finance. It will introduce your colleagues or customers to free debt advice at a stage where we could prevent them from falling into a debt problem. The information is presented in an engaging multimedia format, with videos, graphics, and downloadable materials.

Debt can cause stress.

Be Mindful is the MHF campaign and online hub where people can find information on mindfulness and how it may help them manage their thoughts, feelings and stress levels in proactive ways.

We can help people take control of both.

Using mindfulness techniques alongside 7 Days, 7 Ways is a way of attacking debt stress from two fronts. Each day is a small yet significant step towards resolving a debt problem, and learning more about mindfulness can mean a better understanding of stress management.

Frequently asked questions

In a nutshell, ‘mindfulness’ is paying attention (or being mindful) of the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. It’s a simple method that may help a person manage stressful everyday situations and stay mentally healthy.

The other great thing about mindfulness is that a person can practice it for 5 minutes or 5 hours, whatever suits their own needs and lifestyles.

Written by our expert debt advisors, our 7 Days, 7 Ways email programme is the perfect starting point in helping people to deal with debt.

Each day for a week, we send through an email linking to practical advice that will help people to figure out what they owe, which payments are priorities, and help them to put together a long-term action plan.

Both StepChange Debt Charity and Mental Health Foundation see the damaging impact of debt and stress, so it made complete sense to unite our efforts to help people deal with both.

*source: About Mindfulness (as of 2015)

**source: Mental Health Foundation 2015