For 2019 Mental Health Awareness Week, one of the UK’s largest providers of free debt advice, PayPlan, surveyed its clients to find out how being in debt has impacted their mental health.
Over 85% of clients reported that being in debt negatively impacted their mental health, reporting feelings of stress (91%), anxiety (84%) and depression (68%). Almost half of those surveyed visited their doctor about the affect debt was having on their mental health, yet doctors only recommended them to seek advice in a third of cases.
The number one concern for clients in debt is how they are going to pay their bills (88%), while others told PayPlan they felt they didn’t have anyone to talk to (39%) and a third were worried about how it would impact on their performance at work.
The importance of talking about being in debt
The survey shows the positive effects that seeking free debt advice from PayPlan can have, as 93% reported their mental wellbeing improved and stress levels reduced after seeking help. A huge 95% said they now feel confident in managing their money and 69% said they can now open up to friends and family about their situation.
What more can be done to support people with debt across the UK?
Over two thirds of people said they found PayPlan’s online journey to be beneficial for their mental health, as they were able to complete and digest important financial information in their own time.
PayPlan clients believe there is more that can be done nationally to help people stay debt free and seek support sooner when they need it, like financial education in schools and for more people to talk about debt generally. Over half of clients also feel that doctors and employers should refer to free debt advice providers.
When asked what advice would you give someone who is currently in debt, survey responder Catherine Maynard, wrote: “Don’t suffer in silence. Seek help straight away. Contact PayPlan, they helped me to manage my finances and now I’m debt free and happy. I can’t thank them enough for their help.”
Rachel Duffey, CEO of PayPlan, said: “At PayPlan, we know the importance of talking about money worries and for people to seek help as soon as possible. While a lot of progress has been made in reducing the stigma around debt, these results show that it’s now just as important as ever to talk about debt and that when people seek support, their mental health and wellbeing improves significantly.”