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Warnings over link between debt and mental wellbeing

More than three quarters of Scottish adults impacted by debt during the pandemic say their mental health has been negatively impacted by it according to new polling for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

Polling for the charity by YouGov found that 77 per cent of Scottish adults in debt or at risk of debt since the Covid-19 pandemic started said the issue had negatively impacted their mental health, with 30 per cent saying it had affected them a great deal. 47 per cent said it impacted them a fair amount.

Previous analysis from the charity suggests over 600,000 people encountered new debt problems during the pandemic – either getting into debt for the first time or seeing existing debts deepen.

With household budgets set to face more pressure in the coming months with rising energy bills and prices in the shops, CAS is running the ‘Debt Happens’ campaign.

The campaign seeks to encourage people that they are not alone in facing debt and to seek advice from across the Citizens Advice network.

CAS Financial Health spokesperson Sarah-Jayne Dunn said:

“The vicious link between financial pressures and mental wellbeing is something we should all understand.

“Money worries and mental health issues often go hand in hand with emotional stress often being the cause and consequence of financial stress.

“It may be that you need specialist advice which our CAB network can help through our local CABs as well as connecting you with other local support organisations, or you may just want to go at your own pace using our online Money Map and public advice site which can help by suggesting ways to boost your income, reduce your outgoings and make the most out of your money.

“We want people to understand that they aren’t alone in dealing with their debt or the impact on their mental wellbeing that comes with it. Hundreds of thousands of people are not only facing the stigma of debt but the added stigma of poor mental health. We want you to know that there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Help is always available.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1001 Scottish adults, of which 197 had taken on (more) debt/ the risk of debt since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th - 14th February 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).