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Debt and mental health

Free resources to get the help you need

It is not unusual for money worries to impact mental health. Around half of our clients tell us they live with depression, stress, anxiety, or another mental health condition.

It can be hard to open up and ask for help, but it is the first step to getting back on track.

We work with experts in dealing with the challenges of daily life. Our free and confidential advice can help you take control.

We want to help as many people as possible to get free of debt and the stress it brings.

You can do this. We are with you every step of the way.

Ready to get help? phone iconUse our online debt advice tool now.

Debts were affecting Sarah's mental health

Sarah's story: StepChange Debt Charity

I thought that could be the end of my marriage. All the shame, stigma, self-loathing and everything had built up so much.

I just thought there's no way he's going to want to stay with me now. The foundation I had with regards to money was, was not good and probably quite unhealthy. I didn't have input from my family to help me learn how to deal with money, it was confusing.

You know, and I would spend ages trying to work out budgets and I'd blow it. And then I'd feel guilty, try and rebudget, and then it would just cycle. It would cycle around. At the time, the mental health was poor, I had chronic anxiety, panic attacks, depression.

It becomes part of the mess that you can't deal with. It's another thing that in your head you're failing at. So when I was diagnosed at 42, which is quite late to be diagnosed with autism, I had to learn then about what this actually means for me. And during that process, I realised that being autistic did have a huge impact on how I manage my money. The first person I told when the debts had really built up was my husband.

The response I got from him was very different to the one I felt I deserved. But that is what shame and stigma does to people. You don't deserve nice things or nice people. That's how it makes you feel. When I first got in touch with StepChange, I was nervous, but I needn't had been because it was just so, it was so easy, actually. I remember an overwhelming sense that I was being listened to and I was being heard and I wasn't being judged. I was going to be able to be debt free at some point in the future. When I got help from StepChange, it felt like I wasn't alone.

They were sharing the load with me, the structure and the discipline of the repayment plan has really helped me sort of like take responsibility for my own finances. If the debt had been magicked away, then I wouldn't have learned how to deal with my finances. Whereas this gives me the responsibility and I'm the on who has to do the work, but StepChange is with me with every step of the way to help me do that.

I would always say to anybody, who's struggling with debt, and it doesn't matter what the reasons are. If you are struggling with debt at any age and any circumstance reach out for help, because help is there.


Asking for help can be hard.

Are debts causing you stress? Do you feel you never have the time? Whatever the barrier, let’s deal with it together.

Find out more here.

Getting support from your creditors

Have you heard of the debt and mental health evidence form (DMHEF)?

Help your creditors understand any mental health issues you have.

It may mean they more sensitive when contacting you about your debts.

Use our DMHEF guide

Talking about debt helped Jamie find a way out

"I hid it from my friends because I didn't want to be judged. I didn't want to seem like that person who didn't know how to handle money. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I was worried that I was going to lose everything."

Hear Jamie's story

More clients' stories

How to talk about debt, stress and anxiety

Our guides can help you open up if you or a loved one is suffering with money worries.

*Mental Health UK helped write these guides.

Every Mind Matters: Your mind plan - free NHS-approved online tool

Answer five quick questions to get your free plan with tips to:

  • Dealing with stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep
  • Boosting your mood
  • Feeling more in control

Get your mind plan

Tips for everyday living - guides from Mind Charity

Living with a mental health problem can impact day to day life, making things that seem simple much harder.

Mind have put together a wide range of guides covering:

  • Managing money
  • Food and your mood
  • Combatting loneliness
  • And more

Mind’s tips for everyday living

Download MoneySavingExpert.com's free report on mental health and debt.

Dealing with alcohol and debt stress

You might find yourself reaching for a drink when you feel stressed.

Tempting as it is, alcohol is a depressant, and this can make stress even harder to deal with.

Cutting back can improve your health and also save you money.

Read the guide from DrinkAware.