Are your finances affecting your mental health? Research shows that your financial health, including your debt, may play a role in your mental well-being.
Having debt can add stress to your life and affect your mental health, as you worry about ways to pay off what you owe. Falling behind in your payments, or knowing that you cannot keep up with your bills, can add even more anxiety that can negatively affect your mental health.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18 percent of all adults in the United States had some type of mental illness in 2014. That adds up to over 43.5 million adults over age 18 with mental illness.
Research studies show that mental health problems and being in debt often go hand in hand.
Researchers at the University of Southampton concluded that people with debt have a three times higher risk of mental health illnesses including depression, anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders.
Suicide statistics also show that people who succeed in committing suicide are eight times more likely to be in debt.
The type of debt that you have can also influence how much your mental health is likely to be affected. Studies have shown that short-term debt, such as credit card debt is more likely to cause depression than other kinds of debt. Overdue bills also add to the threat of mental health issues.
According to Money-zine.com, the total amount of consumer debt in the United States averages out to $10,600 per person. That includes men, women and children, and does not include the cost of having a home mortgage.
Another way to think about debt is to consider what is known as the financial obligation ratio. The FOR calculates the percentage of income a person needs to spend each month, after taxes, on things like housing, car loans or lease payments, property taxes, insurance and credit card debt. These are considered “mandatory” financial obligations.
A typical homeowner has an FOR of 15 percent of their disposable income, while a renter has an FOR of over 25 percent.