New research from shows over a third of people who’ve had mental health problems, or have partners who do, have had "severe or crisis" debt.

This means they're six times more likely to have had serious debt problems than people who haven't had mental health problems.

According to the Office of National Statistics, one in four adults in the UK experience at least one mental health problem in any year.

The results of our latest poll, of almost 10,000 people, shows a clear correlation between mental health and crisis debt.

Some people have financial problems because they unexpectedly lose their job, some because they have a temporary issue with their mental health.

To help those affected, has published its updated Mental Health and Debt guide, written with guidance from several leading charities including Mind, Rethink, Christians Against Poverty, StepChange and others.

It's aimed at people who suffer from mental health problems as well as their loved ones. It provides help on where to find free one-to-one debt counselling, working with banks, tips for bipolar disorder and depression sufferers and how friends and carers can help. 

Previous incarnations of the guide have been incredibly popular, with over 140,000 downloaded.

Those who have or had mental health issues
Never been in debt 23%
Only ever had limited debts 24%
Big debts, but not a problem 17%
Severe or crisis debts 36%
Total: 4,403 votes, between 6-13 May. Excludes mortgages or student loans, includes where partners had mental health issues.

Those who haven't had mental health issues
Never been in debt 51%
Only ever had limited debts 31%
Big debts, but not a problem 12%
Severe or crisis debts 6%
Total: 5,274 votes, between 6-13 May. Excludes mortgages or student loans.

'It's a marriage made in hell' founder Martin Lewis says: "Mental health and debts are truly a marriage made in hell.  Mental health issues, such as bipolar spending sprees or depression, can easily push people into crisis debts.  Crisis debts can start or exacerbate mental health problems.

"Regulation is often set up to help the ‘rational consumer’, but it’s important to understand the fact that each year millions of people are temporarily incapable of taking a rational decision or responsibility for themselves due to their mental health issues. Therefore they must be protected.

"That protection has improved when it comes to dealing with those in crisis.  The financial services sector has improved – with at least those the top aiming to enact policies that treat those who are struggling with sensitivity, though to trickle that down to call centres and branches will take time.

"However, where more thinking needs to be done is how we do this without disenfranchising those with mental health issues from leading a normal financial life,  and that includes borrowing.

"Mechanisms to allow borrowers to register to protect themselves such as automatic card blocks if there are unusual spending patterns – which a trusted friend can then agree to unlock – are policies that could be enacted to help."

Martin Lewis
Get Our Free Money Tips Email!
On Our Forums

Mental health and debt