#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth2020: Debt stress is NOT beneficial for your health. Research proves this, and many South Africans can confirm it…

Women tend to face anxiety and stress on a daily basis due to their financial situations.

Perhaps you can associate with them?

DebtSafe’s team, therefore, wants to raise awareness this month to take better care of your #MentalHealth, and to spot financial stressors before your overall (mental, emotional, psychological and physical) health takes a severe knock because of it.

Remember one very important thing this October: Always try to limit your debt or financial stress to better take care of your general health. You can’t always predict a financial change in circumstances BUT you can continuously put your health first to deal effectively with the situations at hand.

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Massive stress placed on women

Carla Oberholzer (debt adviser at DebtSafe) says: “DebtSafe’s 2020 Financial Reality research highlights that a concerning number of South African women experience debt or financial stress specifically when confronted with unexpected events or crises.”

“Due to the unexpected, recent COVID-19 ordeal, 27+% of the women survey participants classified their emotional state of mind as being stressed-out, 19% felt frustrated, and 16+% experienced anxiety,” says Oberholzer.

“So, how do I limit my financial stress and take care of my overall health in the process?” you may ask.

Debt Safe - Support Pillars
Debt Safe – Support Pillars


There 4 steps or ‘financial pillars’ that you can incorporate when dealing with financial changes or events:


The first thing that you should do when a financial change or crisis hits, is to identify the level or degree of the financial implications that you are facing.

Yes, it can, unfortunately, be stressful but you need to try and keep a sound mind and stay as calm as possible. Don’t jump to ‘conclusions’ or any hasty decisions.

Try your best to step aside from the negative emotion and rather inspect the damage or opportunities from every possible angle. This can pave the way or route that you are going/taking.


After the scope of your financial situation/disruption has been identified, it is important to put some planning in place and implement/action your ideas.

Action goes hand in hand by trying out various solutions (cutting costs, saving more money or fixing your debt) that can work for your unique situation. Your proactiveness can give you a sense of accomplishment and reduce your anxiety in the process.

Basically ‘telling your mind and body’ that you are trying everything you can think of as a solution to your current problem.

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A change in your circumstances can be the ideal opportunity to better plan for your financial future and improve your handling of stressors.

See your experience (facing an unforeseen hardship) as a learning curve and apply your new KNOWLEDGE (say for example, properly tucking some emergency stash away) when you deal with unforeseen events in the future again. Remember: practice makes perfect.

Take baby steps when trying to limit your stress while implementing that which you have so humbly learned in the past.


Don’t go it alone. Change, that mainly affect your finances, can be difficult or uncertain to deal with. The National Credit Regulator (NCR) encourages you and other consumers to get the necessary counselling that you need to avoid any more anxiety to occur.

Professionals, such as financial planners, bankers, and registered debt counsellors are available to help FIX your situation. So, don’t shy away from the much-needed assistance to ease YOUR specific burden. Do your research well, find out from friends or family members who they would recommend to contact and get going.

Unforeseen financial situations and stress can have an effect on your health and life. It is, therefore, recommended that you try and curb the amount of debt or financial stress when facing unplanned situations.

You can do just that by taking the above steps/pillars into account. And, remember: get the necessary support to assist you, or, if your mental health is already severely affected by your situation, get the necessary help from professionals in the Health Care field sooner rather than later. Please take note – you are NOT alone.

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