Drowning In Debt: 4 Ways to Help You And Your Mental Health.

(image: Pixabay/Pexels)

Debt can quickly become overwhelming. What may have started as a single personal loan a few months ago, can quickly turn into multiple loans, credit card bills and rent/bills arrears. Eventually, you may reach a point when you’ve exhausted all borrowing options. At this point, it may seem like there’s no escape, however there is always a way out of debt – it may just be a case of seeking out professional debt help.

Additionally this can take a toll on your mental health- stress due to debt can cause insomnia, anxiety, depression and a host of ailments too. You may despair or wake up scared to carry on. You may fear the debt letters or emails and phone calls. The uncertainty is difficult for anyone.

There are four common ways to get out of heavy debt. You can learn more about these below.  

DMP

A DMP (debt management plan) is an agreement to continue paying off your debts, but at a reduced rate. If you cannot keep up with the current monthly debt repayments, a DMP could help lower these to make them more affordable. While you can negotiate debt payments with creditors yourself, choosing a DMP allows professionals to do the negotiating for you. 

DMPs do not cover priority debts (e.g. mortgage, council tax debt etc.) and are informal agreements that lenders can go back on at any time. They can also have a serious negative impact on your credit score. The benefit of these forms of debt relief is that almost anyone who is struggling with debt can apply for them and you will not be added to an insolvency register.

DRO

DRO stands for debt relief order. This is a legally binding order in which all of your debts are temporarily halted for a length of time (usually about a year). This period of time is known as a ‘moratorium period’ and is a chance to improve your financial circumstances. If after the moratorium period, you have tried to improve financial circumstances but not been successful, your debts will be written off. 

To apply for a DRO you must have debts no more than £30,000 and a disposable income of less than £75 per month. It is recommended for those that have assets less than £2000. Lenders must abide by a DRO, unlike a DMP. A DRO also applies to priority debts. Just be wary that you will be added to an insolvency register.

IVA

An individual voluntary agreement (IVA) is another option. It is similar to a DMP in that you continue to pay back your debts but at a reduced rate. Unlike a DMP, it is legally binding. IVAs typically last 5 to 6 years, after which any outstanding debt may be wiped.

IVAs are available to anyone with unsecured debts over £7000. Unlike a DRO, they are recommended for those with assets over £2000. Like a DRO, you will be added to an insolvency register. You can check out this site for more IVA advice

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is sometimes seen as the most extreme option and has a certain stigma around it, but there are times when it can be the best option. The bankruptcy period lasts 12 months – during this period, any non-essential assets you own and excess income you earn are used to pay off your debts. At the end of this period, you are discharged and any remaining debts are written off.

Bankruptcy is only an option for those with debts over £5000. You will be added to an insolvency register and you may find that you are not able to borrow any money for a certain period after. The advantage of bankruptcy is that all your debts are wiped after a year, making it quicker than IVA.

Whichever option you choose make sure you look after your mental health and wellbeing and get support from loved ones and those around you. This may include visiting your GP if you need too.

This article was written by a freelance writer and edited by Eleanor Segall.

Knowing When It’s Time To Seek Treatment For Substance Abuse by Rachelle Wilber.

Whether it is addiction to alcohol or drugs, deciding to seek treatment for substance abuse is never an easy decision. If it is a family member or yourself who has a problem with substance abuse, there are certain signs that will indicate it’s time to seek treatment at a qualified facility. Though it may be hard to admit, here is how you will know the time has come to admit professional help is needed.

Changes in Personality

If you have major personality changes eg you were once very outgoing but now are withdrawing from those closest to you, this can indicate you may need treatment for a substance abuse problem- you could also be struggling with depression . Another indication is if you lie about your addiction to those you love and try and keep it secret.

Financial Problems

If you are addicted to drugs, it won’t take long for this problem to result in you having severe financial problems. Whereas in the past you always had money to pay your bills, you now find yourself having to ask others to help you out financially. Eventually, you may lose your car and even your home. Seek help for your finances when you are able to- perhaps a friend of family member could help you.

Incidents with Law Enforcement

As you live with addiction, you may find that you commit crime or do things you wouldn’t normally do. This may include getting arrested for drunk driving, possession of drugs, or even more serious crimes such as theft or assault and battery. Once this cycle begins, it will worsen very quickly, which is why you should seek out substance abuse treatment as soon as possible. Drugs and alcohol can change your behaviour.

Physical Problems

When you are drinking or doing drugs regularly, this will ultimately take quite a toll on your physical health. While the most common signs may be relatively minor such as nosebleeds or eyes that are constantly red, you may also start to notice other signs. Look for signs of liver damage, increased blood pressure, or trouble breathing. Once these signs become evident, you need to get medical treatment as well as substance abuse treatment for your mental health. Look after your body as it can take a battering when you are addicted to substances.

Losing Your Job and Marriage

When substance abuse problems get very bad, your job and marriage may be at risk of being lost to you forever. You may find yourself suddenly being faced with the prospect of being unemployed and possibly divorced due to your ongoing battle with drugs or alcohol. Addiction can sadly strain relationships and make you unreliable at work too, because you are unwell and can’t get better. At that point, if you hit rock bottom, you may admit you need help for your addiction.

Taking that initial step in seeking treatment will be tough. However, doing so will enable you to get your life back on track and overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol.

There are many places that offer specialised drug and alcohol treatment in the UK and globally. Check out Alcoholics Anonymous, Mind and Action on Addiction.

This article was written by freelance writer Rachelle Wilber.

Your Guide To Being Debt Free And With Good Mental Health in 2022

(image: Unsplash)

There is a strong correlation between debt and mental health which is often overlooked. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1 out of 2 adults with debts, also struggle from mental health and therefore it is something that certainly should be discussed more openly.

Not only can people with mental health such as anxiety or depression face difficulty with managing finances, but parallely, those with debt can often suffer anxiety or depression as a consequence. 

Debt can start with basic credit cards or types of personal loans and get out of control due to shopping online, gambling or by being unable to keep up by losing your job or form of income.

With 1 out of 10 Britons suffering with debt problems, circa 6 million people, it is something that we need to be more conscious about and today we offer some useful guidance and support to be debt free and have good mental health for 2022.

Speak To Your Creditors

The stress of having debt starts with the letters demanding payments and it is remarkable how such a small piece of paper can cause so much stress and anxiety. Also just the feeling of having debt in itself is a painful and uncomfortable feeling.

But one of the worst things you can do is avoid any communication with the creditor. In fact, just speaking to the creditor or company that you owe money to, can ease things. There are always options available to you if you are struggling to pay back a credit card or you are behind on a loan.

For instance, credit card companies can offer you a minimum payment, which is 10% of the balance and you can recur this each month until you want to pay in full. The fees for doing so are very, very small and there is just a tiny negative impact to your credit score – but it offers huge breathing space.

For lenders, they are likely going to be able to freeze interest, delay payment for several weeks and months or spread your repayments over a longer period of time, via something called an arrangement to pay. So whilst you will still owe the repayment, it will certainly help by being able to delay repayment until you can get back on your feet.

And just having some repayment schedule in place can stop any calls, texts or letters coming through the door and take some stress off your shoulders. 

(image: Unsplash: Towfiqu Barbhuiya).

Speak To a Professional 

If you are struggling with debt and are unsure where to turn, consider speaking to a debt professional. Not only are there lots of forums online, but there are charities who will answer you and help you for free, such as StepChange and Citizens Advice Bureau. These establishments will be very used to the types of debts and problems that you are having and they will know very quickly the best ways to calm things down and help limit any further fees and charges being applied.

Speak to Your Family and Friends

Whilst many people are too embarrassed to speak to their close circle of friends and family about their debt or their mental health, you will find enormous strength and support from the loved ones around you.

If you have some debts to pay off, you may find that borrowing money from family and friends can be a simple way to elevate this. It is common for parents to help with any debt problems and not request any interest back. You should always be planning on paying your family back though, because this is always healthy for a relationship. But certainly if you have lost your job and just need some breathing space, this can always be a viable option for you.

Don’t Be Shy to Ask For Help

Being strong in times of mental health or financial problems can sometimes add even greater stress, by just having to hold everything in or still be required to attend birthdays, pay for gifts or go to restaurants with people you love.

But being open and honest with the loved ones around you, can be one step closer to helping with your current problems and getting back on your feet.

Just Realise That Everything is Temporary

You might feel like your debt is taking over, but in reality, it may only be temporary. After all, debt is something that can be wiped out once you have repaid or part repaid.

You may want to avoid selling important things in your life, such as your house and your car, but do not be surprised how much junk is lying around the house that people are willing to pay money for. Whether it is books, CDs, DVDs or clothes, there are people on various apps, Facebook Marketplace or even car boot sales who are interested in buying these things and you could quickly gather a few hundred pounds in very little time.

You will be surprised how quickly you can get your debt sorted – and one step closer to financial freedom and better mental health.



This article was written by a freelance writer and contains links.

How stressed are UK Students in 2019? Guest post by the Natwest Student Living Index

 

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(Image: Natwest Student Living Index)

The NatWest Student Living Index 2019 has launched recently,  delving into both stress and mental health for students at university.
https://personal.natwest.com/personal/life-moments/students-and-graduates/student-living-index.html

University-age students are more engaged with mental health and wellbeing than ever, and the study found that 1 in 4 students are very satisfied with their university’s mental health support.

Other noteworthy findings from the survey include:
• 71% of students say that their university offers affordable health and wellbeing programs (gym classes, yoga, meditation, mindfulness)
• 40% of students are concerned about their financial situation following university
• 45% of students find their university degree stressful
• 1 in 4 UK students find managing money stressful

The 2019 NatWest Student Living Index revealed that close to half of all UK students feel
extremely stressed by their degree studies. 1 in 4 students in the UK described managing their money as extremely stressful, while only 6% felt they received sufficient money management support from their university on average.

NatWest’s Student Living Index 2019 asked students from 35 top university cities about all aspects of student life, including the amount of wellbeing and mental health support on offer for students at university in 2019.

Is their degree the cause of the stress? On average, 45% of students in the UK feel extremely stressed by their degree  Cambridge (60%) and Durham (57%) students are the most stressed by their degree studies.
Have Universities supported students with mental health resources?

1 in 4 students are very satisfied with their university’s mental health resources, while 71% said that their university offers affordable health and wellbeing programs.
Interestingly, while students in Poole feel the most stressed by money management, the city also came last when students were asked about the availability of affordable well-being programs:

 53% of students in Poole said their university offers affordable well-being programs, this is the lowest ranked city and 18% below national average.

 Less than 1% of Students in Reading and Stirling feel supported by their university when managing their finances.

 94% of students in Aberystwyth feel their university offers affordable well-being programs

Are you a student in the UK? Read more about the findings here:  https://personal.natwest.com/personal/life-moments/students-and-graduates/student-living-index.html