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Wellbeing

Are you in a debt crisis?

Posted 13 May 2016

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No one should feel alone and hopeless about their debts. Get the support you need if you’re at a crisis point with your debts.

It’s all too easy to overlook the mental and emotional toll unmanageable debt can take. Over the years, we’ve spoken to countless people dealing with feelings of depression and hopelessness brought on because they saw no way out of their debt. 

We want to address these issues in today’s blog, and provide a lifeline if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by your debts. 


Don’t suffer in silence

Sometimes we speak to people who have reached such a low point because of their debts they feel they are completely out of options.  If this sounds like you, or you think there’s no way out and that you’re alone with your debts – stop! It isn’t true - there is plenty of help available and, you don’t have to manage the problem alone.  However hopeless the situation may seem there is always a way out of problem debt. 

Whether you’re depressed because you’re in debt or in debt because you’re depressed, there is a way to solve the problem you’re going through, both from an emotional and practical point of view. 

The Samaritans will speak to anyone who is suicidal or feeling hopeless, and they can provide vital support if you’re at a crisis point.  You can reach them anytime by calling 116 123, or if you give us a ring we can arrange for them to contact you.

You should also make an appointment to speak to your GP if you’re feeling depressed and/or anxious. They will be able to chat with you about your situation and tell you about some of the steps you can take to get back to feeling like yourself. 

Simply speaking to a friend or loved one about your issues may help you through the situation. We know from experience that there are so many people who find themselves in problem debt – it’s probably a lot more common than you think. If there’s someone in your life that you trust, don’t let feelings of shame or embarrassment stop you from confiding in them. 


Feeling overwhelmed

If you’ve got creditors chasing you for money you haven’t got, this can be very stressful. And if you’ve been threatened with legal action, it can make you feel panicky - as though the situation is completely out of your control. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how bad things are, it’s never too late to get help with your debts and work something out. 

Some people find they don’t ask for the help they need because they feel ashamed that they’re in debt in the first place, or because they fear being judged. If this is you, we can’t encourage you enough to get professional help – that’s why debt experts exist, after all. 

The Money Advice Service has advice on all sorts of financial issues, including debt. Or, if you prefer, our professional and experienced debt advisors are also available to speak to. You can get in touch with us today over the phone or via a live-chat – just choose one of the options on the left. 


Feeling afraid

You may feel afraid of what the future holds because of some of the misconceptions out there about what happens when you can’t pay your debts. 

For example, some people believe that if you need to go bankrupt it will last forever. But this is never the case. While bankruptcy is a debt solution that will have an effect on your life – it normally only lasts for a year and once it’s over you can focus on rebuilding your finances. In some cases it can be exactly the right option to resolve your difficulties and you are able to get advice about how it would affect your own circumstances. For more information, have a look at our dedicated page on bankruptcy.

Some people fear that if their debts gets bad enough they could face prison, but this isn’t true – it’s not against the law to be in financial hardship. 

You may also be scared to seek professional advice because you can’t afford to pay for it. While there are sometimes fees for setting up and running a debt solution, you certainly don’t have to pay for any initial advice. If you were to give us a call, we’d take you through your options and advise the best course of action for you, and we’d never charge a fee for this advice.  Remember, as we said, that free advice is also available from the Money Advice Service.


There are solutions to a debt crisis

Debt solutions are plans that you agree with your creditors, which aim to relieve the pressure of unmanageable debts. There are some solutions that reduce your monthly payments and some that allow you to pay back just part of what you owe or suspend your payments altogether. To find out which one is right, you need to contact a debt advisor and tell them your situation as it stands. 

Follow the link above if you want to learn more about any of these solutions, or give us a call if you’ve got any questions about them. 

We want people to know that there is a way out of debt. Financial worries can feel overwhelming – but they are temporary. Make sure that you take care of yourself and get the help you need and remember - you’re not alone. 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.