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Financial Debt & Distress

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Debt & Mental Health

It is important to understand the way that debt problems and mental health conditions can have a reciprocal impact on each other. 

There is a direct cause and effect relationship between money and mental health, and if the problem is not dealt with there is a tendency for the situation to spiral out of control.

Therefore, any strategy aimed at helping clients improve emotional wellbeing and robust mental health needs to consider the impact of debt worries.

For instance, some clients have never experienced a mental health issue. Suddenly, they have an income shock such as: 

  • A redundancy or job loss for themselves or their partner or spouse, or both.

  • A relationship breakdown – and now must live on one income compared to two, or no income.

  • A death in the family


They could then start worrying about paying bills, getting a new job or being able to afford food.

This negative thought pattern can then spiral out of control without the necessary help and support leading to a potential mental health illness such as anxiety and depression and an inability to handle financial commitments.

In recognition of the above, In 2008, the Debt & Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF) was launched and is an integral part of the guidelines that inform a duty of care towards those suffering stress through debt which adversely impacts their mental health. 

The form was developed between the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  It is widely used by healthcare professionals, money advisers and creditors to effectively evaluate people’s circumstances and help arrive at informed decisions.

I have successfully supported clients experiencing significant financial difficulties which either led to or exacerbate mental health conditions, to use the current guidelines and support to resolve their debt issues by having in some cases their debts written off under these guidelines.

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