2022 financial detox: Money, mental health and the silent killer

In the past two posts I’ve looked at how we can detox our finances and also help our physical bodies in the process.  But now I want to look at debt and its impact on our mental health.

To quote Dickens in David Copperfield:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute calls debt the silent killer. They estimate that more than 100,000 people attempt suicide every year because of outstanding arrears.

Anyone who’s ever had a debt that they struggle to repay knows all too well the burden it imposes on our waking and on what should be our sleeping hours. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimate that one in two adults with debts has a mental health problem and one in four people with a mental health issue is also in debt. They observe that debt makes people feel depressed, anxious, guilty, hopeless, embarrassed to discuss their financial situation, and feel like everything is out of control. On the other side of the coin, creditors can behave in inappropriate and sometimes distressing ways when attempting to recover debts.

One immediate thing we can do for ourselves, wherever possible, is to reduce our debt burdens. If we manage to save money from the financial detox hacks I set out in the previous two posts – unsubscribing from online retailers and monetising a dry, a Deliveroo-free, or flexitarian January, we can deploy some of the savings we make to reduce our debt burden and the toll it takes on us.

To discover more ways we can master our finances so they do not master us, have a read of my book, 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Money.

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