Debt and Depression

Study finds “significant link” between debt and depression

Debt and DepressionIs your debt load crushing you?  While that may not literally be the case, the stress associated with money troubles can actually make you feel that way.

There are few things more stressful than worrying about money.  It causes sleepless nights, feelings of hopelessness and despair, can damage your sense of self and put serious strain on your personal relationships.

Do these symptoms sound like anything else? Like maybe depression?

It’s not surprising to learn that there is a ”significant link” between the symptoms of depression and the mental and physical toll of trying to manage debt. A recent study done through the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that the more short-term debt a person had, the more often they reported feeling the symptoms associated with depression. They defined short-term debt as credit cards and overdue bills.

Trying to manage debts is incredibly stressful,” says Jeff Schwartz executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.  “As a debt load grows out of control, it takes hold of all parts of your life with a huge emotional toll. Unfortunately, people commonly feel lost, ashamed or hopeless. As with depression, it’s hard to see clearly through the problem when you’re in the middle of it. But help is always there.”

First and foremost, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression associated with financial stress, know that you’re not alone. The hardest part is to reach out take that first step.


Maybe your debt problems may be more simply solved than you think. It may just be a case of re-aligning your budget and financial priorities. You might be able to attack single debts on your own, or even consolidate with the help of your bank. Use this credit card debt calculator to see how you can speed up your debt repayment.

Ask for help

If your debt problems are unmanageable, you have to recognize that the issue (and the physical and emotional damage that comes with trying to manage it) is not simply going to go away. You have to be proactive, which means asking for help.

This could mean reaching out to family and friends for emotional support or talking to your family doctor about how you’re feeling. It would also be wise to get in touch with a credit counsellor to examine your debt options.

Asking for help is not weak. It is a brave move, taken by someone who chooses to change.

Baby Steps

It probably took you some time to get into debt. It will take some time to get out of as well. It’s a slow process, but you will begin to feel better just knowing you have a plan. Each step you take will bring you closer to your goal and to lifting the stress.

Shifting the balance of power

Recognize that once you’ve got the ball rolling to tackle your debt, the balance of power will shift. You’re in control of your debt, and not the other way around. This sense of power and control should help ward off those feelings of hopelessness.


Are your debts impacting your mental health? There is help and hope. Call us at 1-888-294-3130 to speak to a trained credit counsellor, or click on our free debt analysis.

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