Debt can play a huge role in a person’s financial stability – and their overall well-being. Americans are concerned about worries like their credit card balance, particularly lower income people who may rely on credit to make ends meet. It’s hardly surprising that money is the second most common source of stress. That stress can lead to physical or psychological symptoms…which leads to additional issues that may be costly financially or otherwise.

We will look at the societal impact of debt while living in the United States, the effects it has on one’s life, and what we can do about it. We’ll also be donating to Mental Health America, an organization dedicated to reducing barriers to mental health treatment and services.

Impact of Difficulty Managing Debt

Although mortgages and home equity lines of credit account for the majority of family debt, credit card debt still makes up a big chunk. This isn’t just the charges run up on cards, but also the interest and fees. These concerns often affect lower-income renter households who are unable to borrow money against their homes using home equity lines of credit at much lower interest rates.

Money is pretty clearly a major source of stress, even in higher income families. Financial struggles are commonly listed as reasons for everything from the relatively high divorce rate to the cause or worsening of a range of mental health issues. Seeing bills build up on the kitchen table can easily throw a person into a cycle of feeling anxious and stuck.

We know that 86% of people with both mental health issues and debt feel that their debt makes their mental health even worse.

How to Help 

How you choose to view debt may have ripple effects you don’t realize. It’s easy to make assumptions about how someone may have ended up in a cycle of debt, but the truth is often much more complicated than a series of standalone poor decisions.

Life events that can kick off the debt cycle can include everything from the loss of a family provider to an unexpected illness to a mental health crisis – though it may not appear that way if all you can see is a snapshot as an outsider. Living in debt can be very difficult if the people around you are all too ready to jump to the least charitable conclusions.

We know that debt can impact existing mental health problems, and that often feels very isolating. We can all work a bit on making those struggling with debt feel less alone and a bit less judged.