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Debt and mental health

Free resources to get the help you need

Money worries and poor mental health are often linked. If you’re struggling to cope, you’re not alone; around half of our clients have told us they have depression, stress, anxiety, or they’re living with another mental health condition.

It can be difficult to open up and admit you need help, but that’s how you can take the first step to get back on track.

We’re here to help you, with free and confidential advice. And we work with specialist organisations who are experts in dealing with the challenges of daily life.

Our aim is to help as many of you as possible to take lasting action on your debt and the stress it can bring. You can do this, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

phone iconIf you’re unable or uncomfortable with talking to someone, you can get help with your money worries online, without having to pick up the phone. Use our online debt advice tool now.

Sarah's debts affected her mental health

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.

Getting support from your creditors

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

This is a form that can help your creditors to understand any mental health issues you may be experiencing.

It may mean they’re more considerate of your personal circumstances 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

Working with Mental Health UK we've created a selection of guides to help you open up if you or a loved one is suffering from money worries or debt stress.

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

Answer five quick questions to get your free plan with tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.

Get your mind plan

Tips for everyday living - guides from Mind Charity

Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things that others might not think about a bit more difficult. Mind have put together a wide range of guides covering managing money, food and your mood, loneliness and more.

Mind’s tips for everyday living

MoneySavingExpert.com also have a free report on mental health and debt that's available to download from their website.

Dealing with alcohol and debt stress

When you’re feeling stressed, you might find yourself reaching for a drink to try to forget about your worries. But this can make your stress even harder to deal with because alcohol is a depressant.

Cutting back on the amount you drink can not only be beneficial to your health and wellbeing but it can save you money too. Read the guide from DrinkAware.