According to recent research, more than 60 per cent of UK adults are in debt and, of those, more than a quarter feel that their debt levels are out of control, which is costing them sleep and causing severe mental health problems.
Moreover, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has warned that, with more than 3 million people in the UK now dealing with both mental health and financial problems, 100,000 people with problem debt will attempt suicide every year.
As Mental Health Awareness Week has just ended, these figures are very sobering and the fact that the week prompted key figures such as the Duke of Cambridge to talk openly about mental health issues shows how important campaigns like this are.
However, as one commentator remarked, money matters remain off-limits in many conversations for many people who often do not have the kind of support networks around them to deal with these challenges.
Commenting on the data, one psychologist said that the relationship between a person’s money, personal life and mental health is far more complex than simply preferring to keep their financial affairs private.
She added that money problems have always been more of an emotional issue than a numerical one because the way people handle money is intimately tied up with their self-esteem and self-image, as well as feelings of pride, guilt, shame and anxiety.
However, at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Treasury Select Committee announced a raft of hard-hitting measures designed to ensure that people with mental health problems get a fair deal from financial services.
The measures include demands that the Government should act to make debt collection letters more supportive and less intimidating, and that banks should introduce optional spending controls to help vulnerable consumers better manage their money.
Tim Close, Insolvency Partner at Milsted Langdon said: “According to the latest research, over half of adults in the UK are in debt, with many of those suffering mental health issues due to their financial woes.
“If you are concerned about your current financial situation then it is important that you seek specialist advice to discuss the range of options available to you.”