Unprecedented levels of personal debt in Scotland are taking a toll on people’s mental health, new research has revealed.
The study by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has reported there was a 50% rise in consumer debt levels in the past five years and nine out of 10 debtors felt it was having a negative affect on their mental health. CAS social policy officer Matt Lancashire said: “That impact could be anything from depression or stress to even more serious effects on their mental health.”
Lancashire said aggressive pursuit by creditors was a major cause of clients’ mental health problems. The results showed instances of unlawful debt recovery methods have doubled since CAS’ last piece of research into debt, in 2003.
The study also revealed that debt disproportionately affects those on lower and fixed incomes as CAS debt clients’ income was 40% below the Scottish average.
Consumer debt is the biggest single problem CAS deals with each year.