Consumer debt is a reality that an overwhelming number of Tennesseeans endure for months, years and even decades. While each person’s story is unique, there remains the common theme that, at some point or another, finances simply got out of hand. Because this issue is so common, there are multiple possible solutions; however, certain mental issues can also arise when the stress of owing becomes too much to handle.
The Balance reminds its readers that millions of Americans struggle with the looming problem of consumer debt: in September 2017, the country saw a 6.6 percent increase in this type of debt, coming to a total of $3.789 trillion. Most of this increase, according to the Balance, was a result of education loans. As for credit card debt, numbers rose 7 percent — amounting to a total of $1.005 trillion. The reasons for these numbers lie in the various adjustments to consumer debt laws as well as the recession. Other reasons, aside from school loans, include automobile loans, which rose considerably during the recession. But most of all, consumer debt can unexpectedly compromise mental and physical health.
Often it is an invisible condition such as depression that can eat away at an person’s happiness. CNBC focused on credit card debt and mental health in a 2015 article, using research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to show that the two could be directly linked. According to the study, unmarried people, those near retirement and the less educated were most likely to experience the link between debt and depression. Despite the data’s limitations (it did not cover the recession or recent increases of student debt), CNBC highlighted the study’s observation that those in debt are three times more likely to exhibit mental health issues than those who are debt-free. While there is no clear indication that a certain type of individual will experience mental issues when in debt, CNBC points out that those with preexisting issues may be more prone to depression. Either way, it is evident that consumer debt can play a role in a consumer’s sense of wellbeing.