Debt causes ill mental health and those with mental health problems are three times more likely to be in debt, according to new research from Mind, the mental health charity.
As part of it's 'In the red: debt and mental health' report, Mind found that 91 per cent of people questioned thought that debt had contributed to their poor mental health.
According to the study, as the cost of living rises and we deal with a credit crunch, we are seeing the real impact that debt can have as 50 per cent of respondents admitted to going without food and heating.
The study highlights the need for action in this area as it continues to hit home the effects of debt. 71 per cent of those with debt problems
find themselves running out of money every week and 87 per cent rely on credit such as a credit card
to pay for food and everyday costs.
As people's quality of life deteriorates it seems so too does their mental health. And, while debt affects people's mental health, people with poor mental health are more likely to end up in debt as they often find it hard to get and retain work.
In its call to action, Mind proposed that bank and debt-collection staff be more aware of money and mental health issues and for banks to adopt a flagging system, where customers can choose to have their account monitored for erratic spending to better protect their finances.
Mind's chief executive, Paul Farmer, said: "UK personal debt stands at a staggering £1.4 trillion but the real cost here is that on our mental health.
"Money worries aren't just keeping people awake at night; they are causing high levels of stress, depression and in some cases self harm and suicidal thoughts. At a time when people across the country are anxious about their finances, debt-depression is a real and growing concern."
Moneysavingexpert.com's Martin Lewis supports Mind's campaign, saying: "Severe debt isn't just a financial problem. It causes relationships to break up, people to lose their homes and families to break down. No matter who you are, it can send you to the pits of despair.
"There is a clear correlation between those in debt and those with mental health problems. Most people have either had issues themselves or have a family member who has. This is a growing blight on our society and one we have to tackle." He concluded.
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