Stephen Fry Endorses Research Linking Debt and Mental Health Problems
Actor, writer and comedian, Stephen Fry, is among those to have applauded new research identifying that one in two Britons may also have a mental health problem.
The review, published by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and mental health charity Rethink, claims that the more debts people have, the more likely they are to have a mental health problem.
The report also said that support and advice was of vital importance for those vulnerable due to mounting personal debt.
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned: “The economic downturn will impact on the UK’s mental health. All political action at this time is important.”
QI presenter, Fry said: “My own bipolar condition has caused me to go on many giddy spending sprees so I have first-hand experience of the difficulties of debt brought on by poor mental health. I fully support the new research in this area and the recommendations which have been made to both the health care and the financial services sectors. An understanding of the relationship between mental health and unmanageable debt should ensure that appropriate advice and support is provided to those who need it.”
As the Mind ‘champion of the year’, strategist and communications expert, Alastair Campbell has also lent his backing to the research.
“One in four of us will directly experience mental illness during our lifetime,” Campbell said. “For many, those problems are exacerbated by financial problems, sometimes in part caused by the mental health problems. It cannot be entirely a coincidence that the word depression has an economic as well as a health meaning. According to Credit Action, personal debt in the UK stands at 1,457bn. This report emphasiss the need for all the relevant agencies to work together to ensure that both mental health and financial difficulties are identified so appropriate support can be provided.”
Paul Corry, director of public affairs at the mental health charity Rethink, added: “People with mental health problems sometimes have particular issues with money as a result of their illness. Those who are working may lose their jobs suddenly if they become unwell, while others who live on state benefits may not have the funds available to cover one off costs. A quarter of people who have a mental illness will be in debt.”
“Financial difficulties can trigger or exacerbate mental illness and tough economic climates tend to result in increased demand for mental health services. During the current recession, Rethink has seen an increase in referrals to its services due to debt and financial matters.
“If someone is slipping into debt they should seek help as soon as possible. We have a debt specialist on hand to provide information via Rethinks advice line”.
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