The Damage of Debt


basicMoney and Mental Health Comment: The Children’s Society report, ‘The damage of debt’
A new report from The Children’s Society, out today, has highlighted the devastating impact of problem debt on the mental health of children and young people.

The report found that:

  • Children living in families with problem debt are five times more likely to be at risk of having low well-being than those not facing difficulties with debt.
  • There are around 2.4 million children living in families with problem debt in England and Wales.
  • An estimated half a million children living in families with problem debt have low wellbeing.

The research finds that it’s the number of debts a family has, rather than necessarily the amount of debt, that makes the most difference to children and young people’s mental health.


Commenting, Polly Mackenzie, Director of Money and Mental Health, said:


“We know that problem debt can have a serious detrimental impact on our mental health. This report highlights the extent of that damage across whole families, including children and young people.


Our recent research highlighted the devastating impact on mental health of being hounded by multiple creditors, often sending threatening or confusing letters. It’s no surprise that these aggressive tactics are affecting children’s mental health as well as their parents’.


At Money and Mental Health we believe that financial difficulty shouldn’t have to result in long-term impacts on mental health, for individuals or their children. We back the call from The Children’s Society and StepChange for statutory ‘breathing space’ from default charges, mounting interest rates, collections and enforcement action. It is essential that any upcoming Government strategy on ‘life chances’ includes practical measures to support those in problem debt and their families.”


The full report from the Children’s Society can be found here.




Contact: Helen Undy, 07827917829, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople.


Notes to Editors

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops policies for banks, lenders, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Money and Mental Health supports the call for ‘breathing space’ of at least six months from default charges, mounting interest rates, collections and enforcement action for all those seeking advice from a regulated free debt advice provider.
  • Polly Mackenzie is the Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. She was previously Director of Policy for the Deputy Prime Minister, working in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office, from 2010-2015.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in- Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.