Debt help saving lives

PA

People who were tempted to end their lives because of debt woes reported a change of heart after receiving professional help.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) found that one in three of its clients had either attempted or contemplated killing themselves before calling the charity for help with debts.

Once the pressure from debt collectors and bailiffs was removed, they no longer felt the same desire to take their own lives.

CAP's chief executive Matt Barlow said: "We know these statistics are shocking but they actually tell story after story of hope.

"The very same people who thought life wasn't worth living have discovered their problems were not insurmountable, once they asked for help."

CAP provides free debt counselling through a nationwide network of churches.

One mother from Southampton was sacrificing meals to feed her daughter and considered suicide when they were threatened with eviction.

"Before CAP got involved, I wasn't coping with living. We locked ourselves in, frightened of bailiffs and of me talking to anyone," she said.

"I was ashamed, felt I'd failed my family, was nervous all the time, tearful and frightened. Now I feel like I've had arms wrapped around me. Money problems and debt just destroy people."

Tuesday is World Suicide Prevention Day. According to CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, there were 6,005 suicides in the UK last year, of which 77% were men.

Credit Action reports that someone in the UK is declared insolvent or bankrupt every five minutes.

The figures from CAP are drawn from a survey of 1,300 clients carried out in the last month to find out how they are impacted by debt.

Mr Barlow continued: "The debt lifestyle can be horrendous. It's so easy to get into trouble, it escalates fast, often when someone is already feeling vulnerable from a job loss or relationship breakdown. Without specialist advice it is near impossible to get out of that situation."

Anyone needing debt help should call 0800 328 0006 or visit www.capuk.org

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