Debt can be a significant source of stress and worry for many Canadians. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and anxious when facing mounting bills, loan payments, and credit card debt. Unfortunately, the impact of debt on mental health is often overlooked, and the link between debt and suicide is not well understood. In this blog post, we’ll explore the connection between debt and suicide in Canada and discuss relevant research and studies on the topic.
The Prevalence of Debt in Canada
According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, household debt has been steadily increasing over the past decade, with Canadians owing a total of $2.4 trillion in 2021. This represents a debt-to-income ratio of 171%, meaning that Canadians owe $1.71 for every dollar of disposable income they have. While some level of debt is normal and manageable, excessive debt can become overwhelming and lead to financial distress.
The Relationship Between Debt and Mental Health
Research has shown that debt can have a significant impact on mental health, leading to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. In extreme cases, debt can even lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A study by the Canadian Mental Health Association found that individuals with debt are three times more likely to experience mental health problems than those without debt. Additionally, a survey by the Credit Counselling Society of Canada found that 66% of Canadians experiencing financial difficulty reported feeling anxious, while 55% reported feeling stressed.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of financial distress and suicide risk. Common warning signs include increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, as well as changes in behavior or mood. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing financial difficulties and suicidal ideation include job loss, divorce, medical expenses, and low income.
Resources and Support
It’s important to know that there is help available for those struggling with debt and mental health issues. CreditLift is an excellent Canadian-based resource that offers debt and credit management and financial literacy education. Additionally, the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service offers a toll-free helpline and online chat for individuals in crisis.
Toll-free helpline: 1-833-456-4566
Online chat: https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/our-services/crisis-lines/suicide-prevention-service/
The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is operated by trained crisis responders.
Crisis Services Canada: This is a national helpline that provides 24/7 support for individuals in crisis. You can call or text their toll-free helpline at 1-833-456-4566, or chat with them online at www.crisisservicescanada.ca.
Canadian Mental Health Association: This organization offers a wide range of mental health services, including counseling and therapy, support groups, and educational resources. You can find your local CMHA branch by visiting their website at www.cmha.ca.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada: This agency provides a variety of financial education resources, including tips on managing debt, budgeting, and saving. You can access their resources online at www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency.html.
Debt can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for many Canadians, and the link between debt and mental health is clear. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of financial distress and suicide risk and seek help if needed. Remember, you are not alone, and there is always hope. Let’s continue to raise awareness of the link between debt and suicide and work towards a future where all Canadians have access to the support they need.