The human side of debt

Debt has been in the headlines a lot lately, from national UK debt to football teams. The stories which perhaps have had the biggest impact are the real-life debt stories which show the human side of debt and in some extreme cases the loss of life due to debt.

You will probably have noticed a lot of debt stories hitting the headlines this year: national UK debt, football teams in debt, women in debt and credit card debt but to name a few.

However the headlines which seem to have had the most impact are the ones which aren’t all about facts and figures, the stories about real people which show the human side of debt and in some very unfortunate cases the loss of life due to debt problems.

Below are some example of the loss of life due to debt:

These are just a few stories which made the headlines, but alarmingly a report released in September this year claimed that 30% of people suffering from financial difficulties would consider self harm or suicide because of their debt problems.

This is not surprising when you look at other data such as a report by AXA which claimed being in debt can damage an individual’s physical and mental health and another study which showed that ongoing debt problems “cause more family arguments”.

Suicide may seem like a very extreme measure, but for some people in debt it really can seem like there’s no way out and I think one of the reasons for this is the fact that people are reluctant to talk about their debt problems. As a company who are in regular contact with people in debt, we often receive requests from journalists for case studies – people who are willing to talk to the media about their debts. It’s rare that people are willing to come forward and to face the judgment and harsh comments from others.

I dispute a report released this week which suggested people in Britain have a “shameless” attitude to debt. I think the sample size for that research of 1400 adults is not representative enough of all people in debt. Some time ago I came across a discussion topic on an online consumer forum entitledare you secretly poor too? which was full of anonymous posters sharing their secret debts problems.

I think online discussion forums are a really positive way to get people to talk about their debts, whether they do it anonymously or using their real name. Talking about it isn’t going to fix everything but knowing that you’re not alone in your situation can make such a big difference and here at ClearDebt we encourage people to interact with us and other people in debt via our online community and this very blog.

We want to know your debt stories so we can show the human side of debt. We have already shared the real life story from someone in an IVA and we want to publish more real-life experiences of being in debt like this one. Please leave a comment below – you don’t have to use your real name and your email address will not be displayed, but your story could make a real difference to people who are struggling with their debts and can’t see any way out.

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