If you fall into debt, it can feel as if you're in an uncontrollable downward spiral and there's nothing you can do about it.

Understandably, this can have a major effect on our mental health.

You may feel ashamed of your financial situation and not want to share the details with anyone else for fear of being judged - even if there are mitigating circumstances.

But support is available and making your debt more manageable can be a considerable weight off your shoulders.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in two adults in debt have a mental health problem.

The weight of balancing the books can make us feel depressed, anxious and hopeless.

On the flip side, one in four adults with a mental health problem are in debt. Sometimes a pre-existing mental health illness can, for example, cause us to fall behind with bills or lose employment.

If you're claiming benefits, you may not be able to save money to use in emergency situations, making it quite easy to fall into debt if the boiler breaks down or there's a delay in receiving your payments.

Ultimately, poor mental health makes it more difficult to manage money - and having less money is a strain on our wellbeing.

If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.

When you're looking to tackle your debt problems, remember the acronym: DEBT.

  • Don't ignore the situation as it will only get worse
  • Explain your problems to a friend or family member
  • Be sure to look for independent expert advice
  • Take control of your spending

If debt is causing you to experience stress, anxiety or depression, Open Minds offers a range of therapies aimed at helping you to deal with these feelings and should be your first port of call if you’re looking for support. You can self-refer to Open Minds online.

Safespace provides instant support if you’re vulnerable and need assistance with your mental health out-of-hours. You can speak to the team using Zoom or by calling in via telephone, between 5.30pm and 11pm, Monday to Friday.

Debt Respite Scheme: If you're receiving mental health crisis treatment, you can apply for legal protections from your creditors for the duration of your treatment, plus 30 days.

MoneyHelper: MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: The Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.

Mental Health & Debt: MoneySavingExpert have produced this free PDF guide, alongside Mind and Rethink, for people with mental health problems and their carers.

National Debtline: The National Debtline offers free advice on how to approach your debt.

StepChange: This debt charity can help you get your finances back on track and has an anonymous online counselling service.

Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form: You can complete this form to inform your creditors about any mental health issues you're facing.

Mental Health & Money AdviceProvides clear, practical advice and support for people experiencing issues with mental health and money. 

Mind: Mind have some great tips on  understanding your money and mood patterns.

NHS mood self-assessment: This short questionnaire will help you understand how you’re feeling and signpost you to the most appropriate support.

Orcha Apps Library: This library lists thousands of NHS-approved health apps by condition, making it quick and easy for you to find support.

Every Mind Matters: This Public Health England campaign shares hints and tips developed with experts and approved by the NHS.

NHS mental wellbeing audio guides: The NHS have put together a series of audio guides to help you learn to control your wellbeing.