People seeking help from Ipswich Citizens Advice with debt problems also face significant issues in other areas of their lives, the charity reports today.
Ipswich Citizens Advice helps 800 people with over 5,000 debt issues every year. Of this number, 77% have a problem in another area, such as 34% asked for help with benefits, 17% wanted advice on housing matters and 41% received budgeting and other financial services information.
At a national level, more than half of the 350,000 people Citizens Advice helps with a debt issue have a problem in at least one other area and nearly three quarters of debt clients say they felt anxious or stressed because of their debts.
Nationally Citizens Advice has today published a new study examining the link between excessive debt and wider issues in people’s lives called A Debt Effect? The report finds that high levels of unsecured debt – such as credit cards or personal loans – make people less likely to move house, apply for a new job or start a business.
The study also finds that people with high levels of debt are 24% more likely to experience poor mental health, and that those with mental health problems are twice as likely to be behind on their bills.
Ipswich Citizens Advice knows that resolving wider issues in people’s lives can help their mental wellbeing. The charity has an outreach at Hawthorn Drive Surgery, giving doctors an opportunity to prescribe advice on issues, such as large debts, that may be affecting their patients’ health.
Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive at Ipswich Citizens Advice said:
“Falling into debt can create a vicious circle of misery in people’s lives.
Some of the people we help with debt problems have other difficulties in their lives and together these can lead to significant emotional and mental distress.
Debt can feel like a huge burden in people’s lives, but Ipswich Citizens Advice is here to help lighten that load.
If you’re struggling with debts, getting advice can make a real difference, helping you assess your options and get reassurance and support.”