Check out our new documentary DEBTASIZED.

Check out our new documentary DEBTASIZED.

Are Debt and Mental Health Connected? Understanding Debt Stress.

Are Debt and Mental Health Connected? Understanding Debt Stress.

There is no question that carrying a lot of debt can be stressful. People who come to see me wonder if they will ever be able to break free from their debt obligations. We talked recently with Dr. Richardson, a clinical psychologist based in the United Kingdom, about how debt and mental health are intertwined. In his study of the link between unsecured debt and mental and physical health, he discovered that while having debt can lead to depression and increased alcohol consumption, the likelihood of these problems depends largely on the type of debt a person owes and their ability to service it.

Not all forms of debt cause mental health stress

In his paper, The relationship between personal unsecured debt and mental and physical health: a systemic review and meta-analysis, Dr. Richardson focused only on unsecured debt and its relationship with mental illness.

While secured debt like a mortgage is still a form of debt, from Dr. Richardson’s experience, secured debt does not usually have the same negative mental health impact as unsecured debt like credit cards and lines of credit does. In fact, having a mortgage often leads to improved mental health.

According to Dr. Richardson people tend to view mortgages positively because they build wealth or help you buy a home. If you are making your payments on time and are not in arrears, mortgages are not usually a source of significant mental health stress.

The inability to service debt leads to mental health problems, not debt itself

On the other hand, owing thousands of dollars on an unpaid credit card is considered problem debt, as it becomes more expensive to service over time and you rarely have any meaningful purchases to show for it.

How much debt a person owes is not usually what causes financial and health problems. Debt only becomes a serious issue when a person can no longer afford to maintain payments on their balances.

For example, if you owe $40,000 on a line of credit, but you know you have the money to pay off the loan, you likely won’t feel any stress or anxiety as a result. But if your monthly income is only $2,400 a month and you owe $1,500 on a credit card, you’re more likely to be concerned about your ability to repay that debt on time.

Dr. Richardson confirms this trend with his case study on mental health and student loan debt:

In 2012, post-secondary tuition fees in the United Kingdom experienced a dramatic increase over one year – from £3,000 up to £9,250. Dr. Richardson looked at whether this rise would make an impact on students’ mental and physical well-being.

In his comparison of students before and after the increase, his research concluded that only the students who could no longer make ends meet due to higher tuition experienced worsening mental health and problem drinking. Increased tuition fees only had a marginal impact on students who did not have to make any sacrifices to their everyday living experience, like going without heating or having to take on even more debt.

Ultimately, whether a person will face financial difficulties and stress due to their debt load depends on their debt-to-income ratio.

Is your debt-to-income ratio too high? Find out: Debt-to-Income Ratio Calculator

Mental health disorders can put debtors in a vicious cycle of more debt

While financial difficulties often lead to mental health problems, it is possible for mental health problems to lead to financial concerns.

For example, Dr. Richardson studied individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder and many claimed that when they feel down, they struggle to get ahead financially because they avoid opening their bills and speaking to people. Unfortunately, this avoidance puts them on an even more stressful financial path.

He found the same behaviour pattern when looking at UK students and their increased debt obligations. The stress of having to pay higher tuition fees led to depression, alcoholism, and eating disorders, which in turn, led to an avoidance of financial responsibility.

The cycle can be vicious, as one must deal with both their worsened mental state, as well as, their finances.

What to do if your unsecured debt is causing too much stress

It’s not uncommon for me to see a client who is under so much pressure that they struggle to look at their credit card statements and tell me how much they owe. If you face this same stress, Dr. Richardson provides the following tips to keep positively focused on your finances:

  1. Know that you are not alone. In 2018, nearly 40,000 people in Ontario filed for insolvency. At one point or another, everyone faces financial difficulty, so don’t feel that you are the only one struggling.
  2. It’s OK to take things slowly. Your financial problems did not occur overnight. There is also no solution that can fix money problems in one day either, so it’s fine to take your time and start by opening just one bill. See how it feels. In another week, open two bills. Take your time. With little steps, you can start to feel more in control of your own financial situation.
  3. Consider talking to a trusted family member. By opening up to someone you trust, you may be able to break any feelings of shame and loneliness.

There are professionals who can help. This is often the most difficult step for those stressed over their finances but know that there are professionals dedicated to helping you find a solution to your debt problems. The earlier you seek help, the sooner you can eliminate the anxiety that comes with overwhelming debt.

For more details on the relationship between debt and mental health, tune in to the podcast or read the complete transcript below. 

Additional Resources

FULL TRANSCRIPT – Show 252 Are Debt and Mental Health Connected? Understanding Debt Stress.

are debt and mental health connected? understanding debt stress

Doug:                My guest today has a doctorate in clinical psychology, with a special interest in financial difficulties and mental problems. He’s done a lot of research on the subject including co-authoring a research paper that examined the relationship between personal, unsecured debt and mental and physical health, so I’ve got a lot of questions.

So joining me today from his office in Southampton, England, is Dr. Thomas Richardson. Dr. Richardson, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?

Thomas:            I’m all right, thanks. Thanks for having me.

Doug:                Did I get that right, Southampton, England, that’s where you are?

Thomas:            Well, I actually work – Where I’m based, in the NHS where I work, it’s in Portsmouth.

Doug:                And, yes, so, in England, where is that?

Thomas:            It’s on the south coast.

Doug:                South coast?

Thomas:            So if you, kind of, go down from London, east a bit and, yeah, it’s about there.

Doug:                And the weather is always sunny and warm there, I’m sure. So that’s [unintelligible 00:01:21].

Thomas:            It is today. It is today.

Doug:                Excellent, excellent. Well, it is here as well. So the reason I wanted to go across the pond and get you on is you had co-authored a paper, and this is going back a few years actually, but the title of it was: The Relationship Between Personal Unsecured Debt And Mental And Physical Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. So, in layman’s terms, can you tell us what exactly you did in this paper, and then, more generally, what it is you actually do in your day-to-day working life?

Thomas:            Yeah. So I work in the UK National Health Service, so I work in the community mental health team in Portsmouth, so working with adults with a range in mental health problems. So I’m a clinician, I do therapy. A part of what I do as well is doing research, and that’s one of my main research interests is about financial difficulties and mental health. So, like you said, it got kick-started with that paper I did back in 2013, and I published a few things then which, kind of, built on it.

So, in layman’s terms, a meta-analysis is basically where you, kind of, pull together all of the data that’s been published because what often happens in psychology and science is that one person finds X, another person finds something different, so you get a better idea of the relationship if you, kind of, try and pull together all the researches that has been done. So that’s what I did, is I really just looked for everything out there, tried to summarize it together and tried to, kind of, statistically pull it together to look at what is the relationship, how strong is it?

And it had a few, kind of – some pretty big headlines, really, in terms of the amount of people who had a mental illness, so, overall, if you look at people with debt versus people who aren’t in debt, they’re about three times more likely to have a mental health problem.

Now there’s other things that, kind of, maybe you need to take into account, but, overall, that’s, kind of, what it looks like. And there’s relationships as well for specific things such as increased risks, unfortunately, of suicides, increase of depression, problem drinking, alcohol drinking. So there is a strong relationship between debt and mental health problems.

Doug:                So let’s break that down then. How do you define a mental health problem?

Thomas:            Yeah, so in the paper I did, and this is one of the problems doing this kind of thing, pulling together lots of studies, is that different studies might define depression, anxiety, etc., differently. Some of it might be a clinician actually doing an interview, and, sort of, diagnosing someone, or it might be based on scores in a questionnaire, okay? So there is a little bit of a, you know, apples and oranges thing there.

How I’d, sort of, define it, as a clinician, depression would be having, kind of, a good period of at least a couple of weeks where you feel very sad, very down, lack of energy, self-critical, sometimes suicidal thoughts, not getting the usual pleasure out of things, finding it hard to get out of bed, just not having the same kind of interest, the same get-up-and-go, and, yeah, this can vary in severity. Some people could have it and just about carry on, some people can be, kind of, really disabled by it.

The important thing is, I think you wouldn’t, kind of, meet the criteria of depression unless it did cause some problems, so we’re talking about it impacts your work or your social life or some kind of functioning, social functioning, your relationships, so it does have an impact.

Doug:                Now you said, “Three times more likely to have a mental health problem if you have debt,” so what kind of numbers are we talking about there? Like are we talking 10% compared to 30%, that sort of thing? What would the ratio be?

Thomas:            Okay, so, again, you know, this figure needs to be taken a little bit with a pinch of salt, just because different studies define it differently, and different studies define problem debt in a different way. That’s another thing we’ve got to bear in mind. But when I, kind of, just pulled it altogether from the studies that were there, I found that the risk of, kind of, a mental disorder was about 42% in those in the, kind of, debt category versus about, sort of, 18% for those who weren’t in the debt category, okay?

Doug:                So 18% of the general population, at some point, is likely to have some form of, you know, mental disorder, so depression, that sort of thing whereas –

Thomas:            Well, yeah, but the figure one in five –

Doug:                One in five, okay.

Thomas:            – in the UK is bandied around quite a lot in, kind of, mental health awareness campaigns. That’s not specifically what I looked like, but, yeah, so 18% compared to, sort of, say, 42%. I think the important thing here, to say, is that this showed that statistically there is this relationship, you know, so the way I phrased it just there is that if you’re in debt, you’re more likely to have a mental health problem, but, actually, you could equally say from the data I looked at that if you have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to be in debt, you know, so it’s not as clear. Yeah.

Doug:                Yeah, right, and I want to talk about the chicken and an egg thing.

Thomas:            Yeah.

Doug:                But before we do, so tell me about debt then. So your study looked entirely at unsecured debt, and everybody who listens to this podcast knows exactly what we’re talking about. Secured debt would be something like a mortgage, a car loan; there’s an asset attached to it, it is, kind of, the less risky type of debt, the less stressful type of debt because, oh, well, if I, you know, can’t pay my mortgage, I can sell my house, kind of a thing, whereas unsecured debt would be something like a credit card, a pay-day loan, income taxes, in Canada anyways. Why did you look specifically at unsecured debt and not secured debt? Was it for the reasons I just talked about, the whole stress aspect, or some other reason?

Thomas:            Well, I think just to make that paper, kind of, clear, you had to make it as, kind of, a particular type of debt. You know, it’s a very broad issue thinking about other financial variables. And some my further research has looked beyond debt at stuff like –

I had to focus on something specifically, but I think the evidence, overall, shows that – one of the reasons I focused on the unsecured is that, actually, the evidence shows that secured debt, mortgages, you know, in particular, are generally, kind of – they don’t have the same relationship for mental health problems. You know, there’s some evidence that if you have a mortgage, you’re more likely to have, kind of, better mental health, you know, unless you’re in arrears, then obviously that has a big impact. But in terms of unsecured debt, the unsecured debt seemed to have a bigger, kind of, impact.

And I guess there’s not a lot of research about why that is but just, kind of, speaking from my own, kind of, clinical experience, anecdotal, thinking as a psychologist, I think there’s a few things there. I mean, first of all, it’s like a mortgage is longer term, it’s less acute. It’s more stable, isn’t it? You’re less likely to get jumps in interest, you know, less likely to get bailiffs knocking at your door. It’s for a purpose. It’s for a reason. You know, this is debt, but do people see it as debt? You know, I mean, I have a mortgage and I don’t really see it as debt because you’re paying in every – you know, because you’re building up assets, aren’t you?

So I think it’s different from if you’ve got thousands of Pounds of credit cards hanging over your head which isn’t really there for a reason, it’s really just maybe trying to get by, so I think it has a different relationship, psychologically. I think the short term debt probably hangs over people a lot more than a longer-term debt; you know, a 15, 20 year mortgage. They don’t see it in the same way, so it doesn’t have the same impact, psychologically. As I said, there’s not, sort of, direct evidence for that, but that’s the kind of sense I make of it as a psychologist.

Doug:                And it would be very interesting to look at the data a year or two or five from now, and certainly, in Canada, we’ve had a very robust real estate market for many years, but over the last year or two it’s gotten a little softer, so I think the stress related to a mortgage may be something that’s actually going to be increasing in the future that – Like if I’ve got a mortgage and my house keeps going up in value by 10% every year, yeah, this is fantastic. The bigger the mortgage, the better, the more money I’m going to make, whereas when I put down a 5% down payment and my house went down by 10% in value in the last year, now, all of a sudden, there’s a lot more stress. So that may be something to watch in the future.

So, okay, now let’s get to the real question. That was a nice preamble, we had a nice little chat, let’s get to the important stuff here which is — and you, kind of, addressed it — the whole causal nature of this. So does debt cause mental distress, or if I have mental distress, am I more likely to have debt? You know, if I’m depressed, am I more likely to take on debt as a way to deal with that, or is it the debt that causes the mental distress? So the chicken and an egg question, what’s the answer? Tell us the answer? Which causes which?

Thomas:            Yeah, so it’s a classic question in all psychology and in particular for this. So, like I said, my meta-analysis showed there was a relationship; it didn’t come first. And a lot of the research is cross-sectional, what we call it, so it’s a one-time point. So you can show there’s a relationship, but you can’t show what’s come first.

Now, what I’ve been trying to do since then is to do studies which are longitudinal — they’re over a period of time — to try and get around that problem and see which comes first, okay? And if I can summarize the, sort of, few papers I’ve published in the area so far, I would say that financial difficulties lead to mental health problems, more strongly than the other way around, but it does definitely work both ways, okay?

So I’ll give you an example. So the studies I did with students, so this was looking at whether they could pay the bills, whether they could get by financially, not the debt, but whether they could pay the bills. We looked at them at four time points across a year, and struggling to pay the bills at the start, that increased the risk of problems like anxiety and eating disorder risk and alcohol problems, but it also, to an extent, but for some of the factors worked the other way around. So it does suggest that there is, kind of, this vicious cycle.

So I think it definitely works both ways because, and I see it clinically, so I think people get trapped. So they might be in a lot of debt, that impacts their mental health, and then if you’re depressed, if you’re anxious, it’s very hard to get on top of it financially. Some people just – You know, I did this study with people with bipolar disorder. A lot of them I said, “When I’m down I avoid finances. I don’t even open the post. I can’t speak to people.” So it can just, kind of, spiral and it becomes a vicious cycle.

So it certainly works both ways, and the more I research this, the more I dig into it, the more I realize that actually it is very complex, and there’s lots of different stuff going on. So I used to, kind of, say that I researched debt and mental health, now I, kind of, broaden that to say, finances and mental health because, actually, what’s really interesting is that there’s research that it’s not the amount of debt per se that’s important, it’s whether you can pay the bills, how much you worry about it, how much you stress about it.

You know, so some people will be in £2,000, dollars worth of debt, and they’re okay with that. Some people will be in $200, pounds worth of debt, and really stress about that, and really worry and ruminate about that. So it’s not as simple as debt, it’s about whether you can pay the bills, whether, you know, maybe do you see that as being for a purpose, how hopeful do I feel about that I can pay it off in the long run? So, kind of, the more I dig into the why, the more complex it gets.

Doug:                And that’s fascinating because it’s not the debt, it’s the ability to service the debt, is, I think, what you’re saying. That’s a more profound concept than the debt itself because –

Thomas:            Yeah, there’s been some studies that have found actually – Like, for example, there’s one study that found that the impact of debt on levels of depression, that disappeared once you’d accounted for how stressed, how worried people were about that debt, which makes sense, you know. It does make sense. And with my student sample, so I started getting into this research because in the UK we had a massive increase in tuition fees. It went from, kind of, £3,500 a year up to £9,000. Literally, from year to the next, the amount of student debt, you know, nearly doubled.

So I looked at whether that would impact mental health, and I compared to people before and after this increase, expecting that the people who were paying more fees, the people who were in more debt would have a bigger impact on mental health. And actually it only had a little impact. It really wasn’t as much as I’d expected, but when you look at whether they can pay the bills, so asking them stuff like, “Have you had to go without heating? Have you had to go without buying new clothes? Have you had to borrow money?” that’s what impacted mental health.

I mean, that was in their first year of university. You know, we don’t know what it’s going to be like ten years after graduation, but, you know, then you might get differences emerging, but certainly that’s what I’ve realized, the more I look at the data I’m doing. And the same with people with bipolar disorder; the amount of debt people are in didn’t have an impact, it was about how much they could pay the bills. That’s, kind of, the key thing.

So, I guess in terms of the work you’re doing, if people are able to get by and pay for the basics, you know, that probably is better for their mental health than how much debt, the actual number of debt that they’re in. That’s what I think my research is going to show, so far.

Doug:                Yeah, and I would agree with that. When someone comes in to see me, I always ask them, “So why did you call me now? Why are you here today because this debt didn’t just come about yesterday? It’s been going for a longer period of time.”

And in all cases, “Well, I’ve reached a breaking point.” Something has changed. This is now the breaking point, and it may be that I’m now getting calls from collection agents,” or, as you say, “I’m not able to pay for things like food and hydro and stuff like that.” So it’s not the debt, it’s the stress that comes from it.

Thomas:            It’s the impact of the debt, and, you know, just thinking about how much debt you’re in, it’s over-simplistic, isn’t is because obviously that doesn’t take into account factors like income?

Doug:                Right.

Thomas:            £1,000 to someone on a high income isn’t going to be as much as someone who’s on benefits, for example.

Doug:                Yeah.

Thomas:            So all of these financial factors, it’s all, kind of, intertwined, and I did this model from research about just bipolar disorder specifically, which is something that’s, kind of, linked with impulse spending. And just for that there’s all kinds of relationships, so avoiding finances, relying on benefits, having to go without clothing, impulsive spending, all kinds of factors related, you know, just for that mental health problem. So it’s complicated. It’s not as simple as just debt. It’s what impact does the debt have on day-to-day life and on their self-esteem and how in control they feel and how hopeful they feel about the future.

Doug:                So let’s talk about solutions then. So the obvious solution is, well, if you eliminate debt then, you know, your mental health will improve. That’s a little bit simplistic. Obviously that’s a great solution for me. Everyone can come in and see me, and I’ll help them with their debts. In some of your work you had mentioned what you call numeracy skills. I guess, we would call that, kind of, financial literacy. Having poor numeracy leads to poor money management, which leads to debt and financial problems, and then, of course, it leads to the mental health problems, the debt and the worry and everything we’ve just talked about.

So is part of the answer to this that we need better financial literacy? You know, how often are these problems stemming from that? Is that a potential solution or would that not be a big factor?

Thomas:            Well, the thinking is I’m focusing on the mental health side so I haven’t thought about the education side as much, but I remember I did, sort of, speak to a conference about national numeracy, which was a national charity thinking about trying to get increased numeracy within, kind of, the British population. And I was saying, well, you know, it might be that, yeah, we know that people who are from, sort of, poorer backgrounds, they’re more likely to have debt and more likely to have mental health problems as well, and numeracy might be part of that.

I mean, certainly when you’re really depressed, when you’re really anxious, it’s very hard to think straight. People talk about having a, kind of, brain fog. So asking people to, kind of, do a spreadsheet, that kind of thing, a budget, it’s really hard when people are in that dark place.

And we’ve got Martin Lewis here who’s a financial journalist, who’s actually set up a think tank here called the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, and they look just at money and mental health. And he’s very keen to get financial numeracy literacy on, kind of, the curriculum here for UK schools. So that might be one part.

As a psychologist, you know, that you were saying it would be nice to eliminate the debt, I can’t do that as a psychologist, but what gives me hope and optimism for the future is that even if I can’t change people’s financial circumstances, the research has shown, for example, that there are all of these psychological factors that turn debt into mental health problems, like how hopeful you are, how much control you feel, how much you worry about it. So even if I can’t change the financial situation, I might be able to mitigate the impact that it has on their wellbeing.

And similarly, you know, a lot of the bread and butter work I do as a clinician in the NHS, is trying to get people to reverse patterns of avoidance. And finance is often part of that. You will avoid making a budget, avoid ringing people, feel too anxious to open letters, so there’s lots of psychological work that can be done here. Yeah.

Doug:                So do you think people are under more stress today than they were five years ago, ten years ago, 20 years ago, 100 years ago? I mean, I realize that you’re not 100 years old, so you can’t give me anecdotal evidence on that, but do you think with the way modern life is, and, I mean, you talked about the tuition fees in England were double. Well, that’s something that changed in recent times that would certainly lead to more stress.

We’ve got all the other factors out there. Everything’s on social media now, everyone knows what everyone else is doing, we only post the good stuff, we never post the bad stuff. Do you see people’s stress levels increasing or do you think, “No, people have been under huge amounts of stress for a long period of time.”?

Thomas:            I mean, that’s quite a hard question to answer because I work in mental health services, so people I see are unfortunately the more, kind of, severe end of the spectrum. In terms of whether finances are, kind of, impacting mental health, I don’t think there’s any direct evidence that it’s increasing over time, but certainly we know that in the UK actually unsecured debt levels are going up, and I think they’re actually above the level they were before the recession, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s having an impact and we certainly are getting a lot more headlines about, for example, student finances, student mental health.

You know, there was a report in the Guardian that found that the number of students that were accessing counselling had massively gone up in recent years. Finances might be part of that. And, yeah, I do wonder whether it might be, for example, kind of, people who are struggling to get on the property ladder. That’s certainly a big issue here. We’ve got, you know, quite high house prices, in particular in some areas like London, so people who are struggling to find a job after university, or that I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an increasing number, maybe, of young people who might be struggling with the impact of it.

I do remember seeing a statistic that actually this increase in unsecured debt has been particular for young people, people in their, kind of, early 20s. So, no direct evidence that I know of that’s impacting mental health, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the reason.

Doug:                Yeah, and we’ve done a bunch of research, certainly on millennials, you’re much more likely to have a student loan if you’re young than you’re old, and if student, you know, tuition fees and everything is going up, and you have to take debt to get it, and I have to get a job, so that certainly all flows into it.

So what is your advice then? So if someone is watching this today and they’re under a lot of stress because of, you know, all the debt they’ve got, and obviously we’ve talked about the obvious thing; well, if you can deal with the debt then hopefully that helps, you know, deal with the problem. And I think you have perhaps not proven scientifically, but you do believe there is a line from, you know, more debt causes more mental anguish. That makes perfect sense to me.

Thomas:            Yeah.

Doug:                You did also say that, it’s not the debt, it’s my feelings toward the debt that are the big issues, so do I feel hopeful of it? If I know I’m starting a new job two weeks from now, and I’m going to be making a lot more money, that’s a whole different mindset than if I know that the plant is closing and I’m going to be laid off in two weeks, even though I have exactly the same amount of debt. So, I don’t know, is there any advice you can give people to help frame things differently, change their mindset and thereby help mitigate some of this stress?

Thomas:            Yeah, so I am actually – I’m working on some computer-based CBT, outside of my work in the NHS, with a company called SilverCloud Health, and what we’ve done is we’ve used the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, and my work, to try and do exactly that; use, kind of, therapy techniques to reduce the impact of finances on mental health and vice versa. So that’s something that I’m, kind of, developing and is out there and it’s starting to be used in the UK.

In terms of a few words of advice, I think first of all just saying to yourself, “It’s okay, it’s understandable,” and I think if people can just take a little bit of solace in reducing that, sort of, shame, that actually a lot of people do struggle financially, and a lot of these people who are, kind of, mental health-wise as a result, so just knowing that you’re not alone might be a factor.

One step at a time, smalls steps, taking things slowly. You’re not going to be able to sort out your whole financial situation, you know, straight off, so have realistic expectations. What I always say to my clients is start small and work your way up, so don’t expect to make a budget and everything the first day. Open one bill, try and sort that out, then try and open a second. So, little steps, you know, because the more steps you take, the more you will feel in control of the situation.

I think, as well, trying to talk to someone about it, even if it’s just sharing it with, you know, a family member, that might help as well, just, kind of, break that sense of, maybe unwarranted, but a sense of shame, some people might, kind of, keep it to themselves, and if you keep it to yourself you’re more likely to stew over it and worry with things. So talk about it to someone.

And, ultimately, it’s going to be hard, but just trying to get some kind of financial advice, it’s always going to help because there’s always something that can be done, and I think if you’re alone with it, and you feel like you don’t know what to do, you know, because we’re not all financial advisors, that’s going to make things feel out of control which makes you feel anxious, that’s going to make you feel hopeless which is going to make you feel, maybe, down, worried about the future. So just trying to get some advice might help, will hopefully help to get a little bit of that things can improve in the future, and make it feel a little bit more in control.

And I think that’s the important point, is just taking small steps to try to make it feel a little bit more like there is something that can be done, to taking a little bit more, kind of, ownership, trying take a bit more control over what’s happening in the situation.

Doug:                Excellent. Yeah, I think that’s great advice, and you’re right. Here in Canada there are – Well, last year it was like 125,000, 130,000 people filed a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, so you’re definitely not alone, and those are just the people who got to the end. You know, obviously, the majority of the population is under a massive amount of stress, so maybe that alone is the first step, is realizing you’re not alone.

How can people who are listening today find your work or find you on Twitter? How can they stalk you? How can they track you down?

Thomas:            Yeah, so if you just Google Dr. Thomas Richardson, Solent NHS which is where I work; Solent NHS Trust. I’m on @drtomrichardson on Twitter. It’s a very imaginative Twitter handle, I know, so I, kind of, Tweet about my research, my work in the NHS and the work, I said, Space from Money Worries, outside of the NHS as well.

Doug:                Excellent. Well, that’s great, and what we’ll do is we’ll do up some show notes for this show, and I’ll put links to all of that stuff, including your research paper which is, I mean, it’s very detailed. You know, it’s not light reading, but you’ve got some numbers in there, and I think you’re right, the most stunning one was that if you have debt you are three times more likely to be experiencing, you know, mental issues. Yeah, we can’t prove causation, I understand that, but it does, kind of, go both ways as well, but it’s a serious issue, and I really appreciate you being on the show today and helping talk us through it.

Thomas:            You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Doug:                Great. Thanks very much. Thank you.

Thomas:            Yeah. Good-bye.

Doug:                Thanks. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Thomas:            Brilliant. Thanks a lot.

Doug:                Thanks.

Thomas:            Take care.

Doug:                Bye. That was my conversation with Dr. Thomas Richardson. Full show notes will be available at, including links to everything we talked about, and the podcast is available both on iTunes, wherever you get your podcasts, and the video version is available on the Debt Free In 30 channel on YouTube. That’s our show for today. Thanks for listening. Until next week I’m Doug Hoyes. That was Debt Free In 30.

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