One in four adults will have a mental health problem at some point in their life

One in two adults in debt has a mental health problem

One in four people with a mental health problem is also in debt

Some people deny the correlation between debt problems and mental health, but these statistics prove otherwise.

So what exactly does cause debt?

There are several opinions on this, but most would suggest that living extravagantly or beyond one’s means is the main cause of debt. In other words, many would say that the fault lies entirely with the debtor. This inevitably carries the impression that debt is always caused by greed, or a desire to ‘keep up with the Jonses’. And as we all know, it is very difficult to feel sympathy for greedy people.

But is this fact? Are debtors by default greedy and irresponsible leaders of overly expensive lifestyles?

The short answer is no.

Debtors do not have a certain face or wear certain clothes. They do not have a specific type of car, house, mobile phone or television. Debt cannot be identified simply by looking at someone or their lifestyle without previous knowledge of their financial dealings. This therefore begs the question, if there is no single root cause of debt apart from irresponsibility, then what does cause it?

Major life changes, such as the loss of employment, a bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship.

A long-term sickness can drastically reduce a person’s income for various reasons.

Working on zero-hour contracts or changes to benefits can result in not getting paid regularly or less than expected.

Living a on a low income

Buying new things, such as essentials like a washing machine can be a struggle for people on low incomes.

Ignoring the bills

Pressure from outside agencies, such as banks, loan companies or even loan sharks, can result in debtors being encouraged to take out further loans, worsening their situation.

Additionally, creditors may employ inappropriate, distressing tactics to recover debts, which can have an adverse effect on the debtor’s mental and even physical health.

If you or a person you know is struggling with debt, help is available – please visit www.stepchange.org or www.lochabercab.org.uk.