Citizens Advice study links debt & mental health


Citizens Advice (CA) today released a report showing people with a mental health problem are twice as likely to be behind on their bills. The new report, titled ‘A Debt Effect’ looks at the link between excessive debt and social mobility.

The study finds that being behind on bills can either contribute to, or be a product of, poor mental health. For example, being in arrears can affect people’s living standards and expose them to various forms of debt collection, including bailiffs, which can cause anxiety, stress and lead to mental health problems.

Complicating the issue Citizens Advice says is that 54% of those people with a debt issue had a problem in at least one other area such as housing or employment.

The charity estimates that 4.3 million adults in the UK have unsecured debt - such as credit card bills or personal loans - equivalent to three months or more of their income. For a person with average UK earnings, this is equivalent to £6,500.

Comment from Citizens Advice Chief Executive

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“High levels of debt and poor mental health can become a vicious cycle and mounting debts can cause stress and anxiety, while those with mental health problems are at greater risk of developing debts…all creditors should be looking at their debt collection systems to make sure they are supporting people with poor mental health.”  

Turn2us comment

Simon Hopkins, Turn2us Chief Executive, said: "The report released by Citizens Advice shows the crushing circle of debt and mental health problems and more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable people.

"We urge anyone who is struggling with money to visit our website and use our free Benefits Calculator to make sure you're not missing out on vital support. Even if you checked before, it is worth checking again using the most up-to-date information."

Turn2us help

In our “Your Situation” section, we have information pages for people who are Ill, Injured or Disabled. This includes information on Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance.

We also have resources to help you if you are struggling with other life situations, such as help with housing costs and bringing up a child. There is also a carers information section.

Turn2us online tools

Our free Benefits Calculator can help you check your entitlement to welfare benefits and tax credits and you can use our Grants Search to check your eligibility for a grant and other support from over 3,000 charitable funds. You can also locate face-to-face advice in your local area with our Find an Adviser tool.

Source: Citizens Advice press release: People with poor mental health twice as likely to be behind on bills