Family debts ’cause mental health problems for children’

Those who are struggling with debts may be all too aware of the stresses it imposes on them and the potential damage it can do to relationships.

However, new research has also highlighted the impact it can have on the children. Far from being oblivious to the realities of having to juggle finances and make ends meet in the adult world, a new study has shown financial problems filter down to them in a way that can cause significant mental health problems.

The Children’s Society has published a report titled The Damage of Debt, which found children living in families with problem debts are five times as likely to be unhappy as those who are not.

Around 2.4 million youngsters are in such families and one in four of them are unhappy with their lives. Among the causes is the fact that those in problem debts are twice as likely to have arguments, while increased stress can arise from the use of bailiffs and debt collectors by creditors, with their presence intimidating the kids who encounter them.

For parents struggling with debt, there is often great strain on themselves, as when money is short they may find themselves resorting to drastic action such as going hungry to ensure their children are fed.

All these are good reasons for those in deep debt to consider measures such as an IVA, which can help establish a deal with creditors that keeps the bailiffs away and relieve huge amounts of stress.

Indeed, not only will the children feel better, but so will parents. Debt is not just stressful, but can lead to genuine mental illness for adults too.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has noted that while one-in-four adults will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, the figure rises to one-in-two for those in debt. Moreover, a quarter of people with mental health problems are also in debt.

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