What if I’m stressed about debt?

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This week is Debt Awareness Week, an annual campaign run by StepChange Debt Charity to raise awareness of debt problems and help people find free support with their financial ‘What Ifs’. We can help you take the first step towards resolving your money worries with free, impartial advice.

The past twelve months have been stressful and upsetting for many of us. And experiencing financial difficulty can make things even worse. The good news is there's help available, if you’re feeling weighed down by your money worries.

Am I experiencing debt stress?

If any of the following apply to you, you could be suffering with debt stress:

  • Thinking about your finances makes you feel, sad, sick, or overwhelmed

  • You struggle to sleep or eat properly due to worrying about debt

  • You feel withdrawn from friends and family due to your debt worries

  • You find it hard to concentrate on work or other responsibilities

  • You’re already dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses

You may also have experienced a sudden life change that’s affected your financial situation, such as losing a job, taking time off to care for a loved one, or a bereavement. As well as being incredibly stressful in themselves, these life events can have a major financial impact.

Start the conversation

We know it’s not easy to talk about debt. Many people feel ashamed, embarrassed, or like they’re the only one. We help over 650,000 people every year deal with debt problems – so you’re certainly not alone, and opening up to someone you trust can help take some of the weight off your shoulders.

As well as emotional support from loved ones, you can get practical, judgement-free debt advice from StepChange. Our expert advisors are here to help you work out a way forward to deal with your situation. If you’re already on a debt solution with us but you’re anxious about your finances still, you can talk to us – we’ll do all we can to put your mind at rest or help you deal with the problem.

Let your creditors know

If debt stress is affecting your ability to pay your bills or debts, let your creditors know as soon as youre able to. Many are working hard to support their customers during this difficult time, and they’re willing to be flexible and help you where they can. 

If you need support with your mental health it’s really important that your creditors are aware so that they can help you deal with money worries, not make them worse. You can send your creditors a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF), which gives them permission to receive information from your doctor so that they can understand what you’re going through. You’ll need to speak to a healthcare professional first so that they can authorise the form – so bear in mind this may take longer than usual due to coronavirus. 

Take the first step

Tackling something that’s causing you stress, like debt, can be daunting. You don’t have to deal with everything in one go – just one small step can help. That might be talking to a friend, your doctor, or perhaps sitting down with a cup of tea and making a budget.

Once you’re ready to deal with your debt problem, StepChange can help. Our advice is free, impartial and our expert advisors will never judge. Visit www.stepchange.org, or if you’d prefer, call them on 0800 138 1111 to start the conversation (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm).