The lower the income, the deeper the debts, the higher the stress, the higher the probability of facing mental health problems, and the higher the desire to just take one's life. This is the shocking and heartbreaking truth many are facing nowadays due to the cost of living crisis, a Christian debt counseling charity revealed.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP), a charity that works with local churches across the U.K. to help the poor and 'most vulnerable" out of debt and poverty, divulged that in the year 2021, 36% of their clients have considered and even attempted suicide to escape their debts, before seeking help from the charity. This is a 28% increase from 2020's survey, Church Times reported.
The research also revealed that these clients were going through mental health issues, with 71% more experiencing depression and 80% more facing anxiety.
In 2021, the charity said that they were able to support 13,452 clients on their journey to a debt-free life and 1877 were victoriously saved from their debts. This, as well as the 85% who are earning below the UK national average, are the basis of the recently released survey report.
On Suicide Watch Because Of Debt
Christian Today narrated the story of one client named Syd, who almost took his life when a serious illness brought him into so much debt.
Syd had a brain tumor and now suffers from Crohn's disease. He was a paid semi-professional sporting star who was almost paralyzed, and while experiencing all these, he lost his mother, resulting in a tailspin and an unmanageable debt.
"I was suffering badly from depression. Previously I had always worked very hard but due to circumstances beyond anybody's control I got to a state where I was on suicide watch," he said. He went on to say that he was in his darkest state where he could no more see a way out until he sought help from CAP, which helped him to be debt-free and where he never felt condemned or judged.
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Seek Free Debt Help, CAP Encourages
The research has revealed a significant gap between people's debt and their earnings. The average income of CAP's clients is £13,404, net after housing costs while the average peak debt is at £17,306, resulting in a big difference of £3,902, which people don't know how to pay or have no source to get payment from, making it hard for everyone to break free from debt.
More so, it is disquieting to know that the serious debts incurred by people are not from living beyond their means but are actually from basic living costs - house rent, utility bills, food, and council tax.
According to the survey, this sad circumstance has "led to a 27% rise in clients sacrificing meals, a 22% increase in those going without heating, and a 48% increase in those unable to afford basic toiletries as they struggle to make ends meet," resulting to a higher number of people experiencing mental health problems. This was validated with CAP finding out that there was a 40% rise in calls to their helpline for the 5 months of 2022 as compared to 2021.
CAP Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab, expressed that the reality for many families on the low-income ladder is that it has really no enough money to feed themselves and their kids, to run their homes and even to buy and pay for the essentials. Thus, he encourages people to seek free debt help, not only to save them financially but also to save them from depression and suicide.
"We encourage anyone struggling to seek free debt help because we know that with incomes so low, and rapidly rising costs, a lot of families are finding it impossible to stay out of debt and it looks like things are set to get even more difficult this winter," he warned.
With this crisis far from over, McNab also boldly suggested that there is a need to fight the stigma and shame caused by debts through opening up and starting conversations with the people around us, Premier Christian News reported.
"The fact that it's [the cost of living crisis] affecting everyone does mean that church leaders, members of the congregation, and community can now more legitimately start conversations about money in a way that maybe we couldn't before," he proclaimed.
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