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10 September 2013

Tackling debt can prevent suicide

Tackling debt can prevent suicide

New figures released by Alliance member Christians Against Poverty (CAP) show how asking for help with a financial mess can literally be a life saver.

The charity found that before calling them for debt help, one in three had either attempted or contemplated killing themselves. Now, the phone calls and bailiffs have stopped, the same clients say the future is looking brighter.

One mum from Southampton who was regularly sacrificing meals to feed her daughter, was threatened with eviction and began to think suicide was her only escape.

"Before CAP got involved, I wasn't coping with living. We locked ourselves in, frightened of 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 round me. Money problems and debt just destroy people," she said.

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."

"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."

The latest debt statistics from Credit Action show that someone is declared insolvent or bankrupt in the UK every five minutes. Citizens Advice deals with more than 7,000 debt problems every working day. CAP asked its clients via a questionnaire sent out last month to find out how debt affected them before receiving help. So far, it has received 1,300 responses.

CAP is pleased to support the work of World Suicide Prevention Day spearheaded in the UK by Alys Cole King from Connecting with People who said in a recent blog: "I passionately believe that everyone has the potential to help someone with suicidal thoughts. "Increasing hopefulness, resilience and reasons for living have been shown to reduce suicide risk."

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