Shocking toll of debt as victims see suicide as their only way out

ONE in three people who contacted a Yorkshire-based debt counselling charity had attempted or contemplated suicide.

The shock figures from Christians Against Poverty revealed that many people with mounting debts see no way out of their problems.

The charity, which has its headquarters in Bradford, says that the risk of suicide recedes as debt problems are resolved and bailiffs are stopped.

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One mother from Southampton told the charity how she regularly sacrificed meals to feed her daughter.

When she was threatened with eviction, she began to think that suicide was her only option.

“Before CAP got involved, I wasn’t coping with living,” she told the charity.

“We locked ourselves in, frightened by bailiffs and of me talking to anyone. 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.”

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The charity’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.

“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.”

CAP asked its clients questions via a survey to discover how debt had affected them before they got help. It received 1,300 responses.

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One in three admitted having suicidal thoughts. Just over five per cent admitted they had attempted to take their own lives.

Latest debt statistics from Credit Action show that someone is declared insolvent or bankrupt in the UK every five minutes.

Citizens Advice workers deal with more than 7,000 debt problems every working day. CAP has debt counselling centres across Yorkshire, including three in Leeds, two in Rotherham and two in York.