Money worries can affect the mental health of children

Posted by Sophie Regester in Dealing with Debt on 30 September 2016 - Sophie is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

Money, or the lack of it cannot only be an emotive subject but also one that is a great source of stress. The stress experienced can extend to all areas of life and does not only affect the one owing the money.

If you are working there is always some sort of collection going, whether it’s to buy someone a leaving present, to sponsor a fun run or to pay your way on a works meal out and if you have debt issues it can be cringe-worthy to always be the one making excuses. “Sorry I forgot my wallet”, “can’t make it, I have plans that evening”, “I already put my donation in the collection mug” – but as stressful as this may be for an adult, it is also worth remembering the impact debt issues may have on children in the family.

For them it is no new pencil case, no money for the school trip and a sad-looking packed lunch in place of hot school dinners, or having to sign at the till for free school dinners, which never goes unnoticed by their peers.

The Children’s Society is highlighting the link between family debt and the mental health of children caught in the middle. The stresses on children include hearing family arguments due to debt pressures, bailiff visits, guilt over not being able to help more and exclusion from activities that other children are able to partake in such as birthday parties and school trips. This can mean that the children become socially isolated and ostracized as they are seen as different, which in turn can lead to depression and a feeling of low self-worth.

The Society is calling for families struggling with debt to be given more time to deal with their financial issues. This time would take the immediate pressure off and give much needed breathing space for all options to be considered. There are some government measures in place to help those struggling, such as the Money Advice Service, which spends £45m per annum offering advice and support to those in need, as well as government investment in mental help services. That being said, a family focus is vital to ensure that the cycle does not continue into the next generation.

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