Take strain off through debt counselling

A recent study conducted by a debt counselling company has highlighted the impact financial strain can have on consumers’ well-being.

With Mental Health Awareness Month being marked during October, debt counselling company DebtSafe has highlighted recent statistics related to debt and financial stress, drawn from data collected from more than 1 000 survey respondents.

As they juggle various tasks at work, perhaps trying to hold the fort at home and making ends meet many of them find their money is simply not stretching until the end of the month. And since finances play an important part in their lives, the strain caused by money or debt could be classified as a serious health hazard, says DebtSafe.

“The current economy indicates that times sure are tough and South Africans tend to look at credit to try and make life a bit ‘easier’, says Carla Oberholzer, a debt adviser at DebtSafe.

“Research has also indicated that financial or debt-related stress can indeed affect individuals’ physical, emotional and mental health.” According to the DebtSafe Financial Reality Survey (June 2019), financial strain or stress has influenced:

56% of these consumers’ stress levels.

40% of the respondents’ sleep patterns.

the decision-making abilities of 29% of these respondents.

the overall health of 28% of the consumers.

26% of the respondents’ relationships.

Among the main reasons for having debt cited by the respondents are tough economic times; education/school expenses; and unforeseen/emergency expenses.

“These statistics are an unhealthy pill to swallow,” says Ms Oberholzer.

“And, consumers have to go back to their financial health chart or drawing board to see what they can do to improve their money management skills, while getting rid of debt in the process.

“This can then help limit their overall stress levels.”

Consumers’ financial or debt stress can cause a ripple effect of anxiety throughout a person’s physical wellness, emotional health and mental state, she adds.