High Levels of Personal Debt Could be Creating a Mental Health Time Bomb

According to research there is a strong link between financial problems and low mental well-being in over 50’s.

A study published last week shows that older people who get into financial difficulties are eight times more likely to report being mentally unwell or depressed than those who live comfortably.

The professionals behind the research noted that the correlation between debt and unhappiness was “staggering” and proved, beyond doubt, that they were “inextricably related”.

Last year bankruptcies among over-65s rose by 470% and the size of debts also increased with an over-55 borrower having 36% more unsecured debt than in 2011.

The study analysed data from the UK’s largest social survey, Understanding Society, in which almost 20,000 people aged 50 and above were questioned.

David Hayes, a research associate at Bristol University’s Personal Finance Research Centre, said the results showed how the consequences were widespread; “the magnitude of the relationship that we uncover here is quite staggering.”

Individuals in the survey were asked about whether they had problems sleeping and concentrating, whether they felt they were capable of making decisions and enjoyed day-to-day activities. They were also asked to rate their general happiness.

The report notes previous research that debt “may be both a cause and consequence of mental-health problems”.

“This work supports the assertion that poor mental health is exacerbated by financial problems and, though questions of causality remain, indicates that mental well-being and financial management are inextricably intertwined,” the report found.

Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, said the research should be taken into account by health and financial services. He said both sectors “need to be mindful of these links and ensure people get the expert support they need to manage their finances”.

If you think you could help people cope with the potential anxieties, stress and unhappiness caused by debt why not apply for a brochure today and let yourself grow into a Counsellor with Chrysalis.