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Real People, Real Stories

By | Financial Help, News

Real People, Real Stories

41% of men in England, Scotland and Wales, aged 20-59, do not seek support as they prefer to solve their own problems. This is according to a new survey from the Samaritans. This is backed up by our own data; almost twice as many women reach out to us for help with their debts than men (65% to 35%).

As a result of the data, Samaritans launched a campaign called Real People, Real Stories. The campaign sees men who have overcome tough times share their stories to encourage men, who are most at risk of suicide, to seek help by contacting Samaritans 24/7 free on 116 123 or Samaritans.org.

Paul McDonald, Executive Director of External Affairs at Samaritans, said: “We didn’t want to create just another awareness campaign. We wanted something authentic and emotive from men who have been through tough times, sharing their really powerful, positive and hopeful stories to encourage other men to seek help before they reach crisis point.”

“Our survey results found that although 78% of men aged 20-59 say it’s okay to admit you’re not feeling okay, many still avoid speaking out when they’re finding life tough. A quarter (25%) felt their problems weren’t important enough to warrant calling a helpline, which is one of the reasons this awareness campaign is so important.”

The survey found that some of the main reasons why these men find life tough and struggle include debt or financial worries (36%), relationship breakdown or family problems (30%), loneliness or isolation (29%) and job loss or job-related problems (25%).

Real People Real Stories

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with men aged 20-59 at the biggest risk of suicide. Our new awareness campaign in partnership with Network Rail shares real stories from men who have been through tough times, encouraging other men to seek help when they need it. http://ow.ly/1BvC30o5TmV #RealPeopleRealStories

Posted by Samaritans on Monday, 18 March 2019

If you’ve stopped doing things you usually love, you’re tearful, not eating or sleeping properly, drifting from people close to you, taking alcohol or drugs to cope or self-harming, then please talk to the Samaritans today, or someone you trust.

Call them on 116 123 or email them at jo@samaritans.org

Struggling to Cope?

Signs to look for:

  • Lacking energy or feeling tired
  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Experiencing ‘brain fog’, find it hard to think clearly
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Feelings restless and agitated
  • Feeling tearful, wanting or cry all the time
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things and tasks
  • Experiencing ‘burn out’

If you don’t see what you’re feeling on this list, please still get in touch.

And if you do think these symptoms sound like you, or someone you know, please still get in touch with the Samaritans on 116 123 or at jo@samaritans.org.

They can also help if you are worried about someone else too.

Samaritans Debt Help
gambling-and-suicide

Problem Gamblers 15 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide

By | Financial Help, News

Problem Gamblers 15 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide

People with gambling problems are 15 times more likely to commit suicide.

A recent report from academics at Lund University in Sweden, conducted the largest study of its kind, and found “a significantly elevated risk of suicide among participants compared with the general population over an 11-year period.”

The study found that the suicide rate of men, aged between 20 and 49, increased 19 times if they had a gambling problem. This reduces slightly to 15 times when looking at men and women across all ages.

It has been said that if the figures were applied to the UK, then gambling would account for around 550 suicides a year (or more than ten per week).

“This research confirms the high number of gambling-related suicides that Gambling with Lives families brought to public attention after the deaths of our children,” said Charles and Liz Ritchie, who founded the charity after their son Jack took his own life aged 24 following a gambling addiction.

“The lack of recognition of the scale of this problem has been shocking and we call on the government to take immediate action to save lives.”

Gambling and Debt

Click here for more

GamStop

GamStop.co.uk

GamStop is a free service that lets you put controls in place to restrict your online gambling activities. You will be prevented from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of your choosing.

Learn More

Useful Contacts

Call GamCare on 0808 8020 133 8am – midnight or visit their website at GamCare.org.uk

Talking to people in a similar position is a great way to help yourself. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or SMART Recovery can help put you in touch with people to help keep your gambling under control.

Gambling with Lives – Supporting families bereaved by gambling. Raising awareness of the dangers of gambling. Call 07864 299158.

Samaritans – For Everyone – 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably – For Men – 0800 585858
Papyrus – Under 35 Year Olds – 0800 068 41 41

Anders Hakansson, professor of addiction medicine at Lund University and a psychiatrist in a gambling disorder unit, stated, “The causes [of suicide] are very likely to be multi-factoral but it’s likely that some will contribute more than others.”

He said it was hard to isolate the role played by gambling, citing co-morbidity, which refers to the existence of multiple overlapping factors that may be present in subjects who take their own life.

For instance, if a subject was diagnosed with depression as well as a gambling disorder, the likelihood of suicide increased even further but the risk did not appear to rise if substance misuse was added.

He said: “It’s not difficult to argue that gambling contributes very strongly to suicidal thinking, especially when debts are so severe that suicide becomes part of the solution a person thinks about in that kind of crisis, with the feeling of what you have caused to your family members.”

If you are struggling with gambling, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org, then read our Gambling and Debt page for more information.

credit-card-debt

Credit Card Debt Cycle Revealed

By | News

Credit Card Debt Cycle Revealed

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that some credit card customers are being charged multiple fees for just one missed payment.

Multiple missed, or late, payments are a sign that a customer is struggling, and credit card companies are making things worse by charging multiple fees: Return payment; Missing a payment; and Over credit limit fees, could all be charged on one single transaction.

The FCA is currently contacting credit card companies to remind them of their obligation to monitor penalties and to ensure that people do not fall into a cycle of credit card debt that could be avoided.

What Happens If you Miss Your Credit Card Payments?

If you fail to repay the minimum credit card payment each month, your creditor will contact you to demand payment. If you still fail to make payment, your account will default and your creditors will take further action to get their payment.

If you are struggling to repay your credit card debt, contact us now and talk to our expert advisers for no-obligation help and advice on how you might be able to get yourself out of debt. There is no fee for our advice, so why not contact us today. The sooner you deal with your problem, the sooner we can help put your mind at ease.

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One in Three Struggling to Pay Bills

By | News

One in Three Struggling to Pay Bills

Around a third of all adults in the north-east of England are struggling to pay their bills according to a new report from the Salvation Army.

The charity surveyed people from around the country, but their main cause of concern arrived when 57% of people in the north-east claimed they replied on credit cards and loans to get by.

As we have been saying for a long time, the main reasons for people being in debt were found to be unexpected job losses, illness, bereavement, breakdown of relationships and other unforeseen occurrences. Anyone can be affected by debt.

Lorraine Cook of the Salvation Army said, “We see a variety of people come into our service.
“Many have experienced delays in Universal Credit which has left them in debt.
“We also have a large client group who are in work but simply can’t keep up with the cost of living and therefore struggle to meet essential costs such as rent or council tax.
“Debt can affect a person’s ability to make choices, impact their relationships, as well as their physical and mental wellbeing.”

This ‘one in three’ is a similar amount to what we saw in the north west at the end of last year. With a third of all people in the north struggling, it’s shocking that some people are still ashamed to get help with their debts!

Debt Help UK

If you are based anywhere in the UK, and are struggling to repay your bills, contact our advisers today. There is no cost for their advice, and absolutely no obligation to use any of the services we may provide.

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Models Struggle With Debt

Fashion Models Struggling With Debts

By | News

Fashion Models Struggling With Debts

In our quest to remove the stigma of debt, we try to highlight those who we may not necessarily associate with debt troubles. As it’s currently London Fashion Week, now seems the ideal time to highlight the fashion models who are struggling to make ends meet.

New York, Paris, Milan, London…

It sounds glamorous, but the truth can be far from it. The problem with high-end fashion models is that whilst it’s a globe-trotting role and the envy of many, the models’ agents pay for the travel, accommodation and transfers. Unfortunately they want all of this money back. Meaning that many models basically start their career in debt and spend the rest of their career chasing the repayments.

This may come as a shock to many, as success in the modelling world (as in many other walks of life) is measured by the amount of money you earn, and therefore people very rarely talk about their debts.

A French model who doesn’t want to be named has stated, “It always feels like a gamble to make the journey to fashion week with the risk you’ll go home owing more than when you arrived. Maybe 40%, maybe more, go home with zero. That is why it is so stressful.”

Struggling With Debt?

If you are struggling with debts, don’t worry! I think what this story shows is that anyone can struggle with debt. We understand that it can be difficult to talk about, but that is the first step to getting debt free. Talk to one of our award-winning advisers today. There will be no judgement on our side, we have helped thousands of people with their debts and, although it seems like it at the minute, your particularly caase is no different than theirs – and we helped them! Even if we can’t help you ourselves, we will point you in the direction of someone we can.

There is no fee for our advice, and you have no obligation to use of the services we may suggest to you (although we think you will). So what have you got to lose? Contact us today.

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Money Worries Affecting Workplace Performance

By | Financial Help, News

Money Worries Affecting Workplace Performance

The inaugural Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index shows that 39 percent of employees worry about money ‘always’ or ‘often’, with younger workers the most affected.

The report shows that money worries are affecting more than 77 percent of employee’s working productivity, which obviously has a massive impact on companies nationwide.

Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, said the problem was a “bottom line issue” that businesses needed to start acting on.

“If an employee is worried about money, they don’t park that worry in the umbrella stand at the door. It impacts their decision-making functionality, and they might use work hours to take care of issues, or take time off work. It starts to impact their overall health,” she said.

“All those factors and more mean businesses are not getting the best from their employees. This is a bottom-line issue [and] doing nothing is no longer an option.”

So-called ‘millennials’ are the most affected, with 87 percent admitting worrying about money whilst at work. Of those aged between 35-54 the figure drops slightly to 72 percent.

The same survey also surveyed more than 1,000 employers, and they found that most businesses “dramatically overestimate” their employee’s financial wellbeing. This is despite almost a quarter noting reduced productivity as a result of money-related stress. Other effects that money worries can have on productivity include; loss of talent, higher short-term absences, higher long-term absences, reduction in retirees, and higher healthcare costs.

“Despite the growing awareness of the need for workplace financial wellbeing, organisations seem to be struggling to find clarity, transparency and meaningful measurement on this issue,” said Makings. She said businesses were well placed to improve employees’ financial wellbeing, as they were able to provide better value for money on benefits than an individual and could distribute financial education, advice and investment solutions.

Is the worry and stress of debt getting you down? Is it having a negative impact on your work and home life? Read our Debt and Stress page for more information.

Are You An Employer?

Are you an employer? Contact us now to find out how we could help your staff with their debt worries.

Almost A Third Of People Struggle To Pay Their Bills

By | Financial Help, News

A Third Of People Struggle To Pay Bills

According a recent report from United Utilities, 3-in-10 people struggle to pay their bills in the North West of England.

Louise Beardmore from United Utilities, said: “This can be a particularly challenging time of the year for many families in the North West.

“While it’s very timely to discuss and raise issues around affordability on Blue Monday, it’s also something that needs ongoing attention. We are therefore launching the North West financial hardship hub, which is the first of its kind in the country, and will be a valuable new resource for the money advice community in our region.”

She added: “This is the second Affordability event we have organised. From our point of view, if customers are struggling with water bills, they are likely to be struggling to pay most of their household bills.

“It can be difficult for a single organisation to make a widespread difference and we believe that a collaborative regional partnership can go way beyond what any one organisation could do alone.

“We are proving this with the launch of the North West Hardship Hub, which has been created following the collective outcome of last year’s event.

“Our new research worryingly found that more than one in four people did not speak to anyone about their recent financial hardship, so we want everyone living in the North West to know help is out there. The hub gives the region’s money advice community the tools to help pinpoint the right support for the people who come to them for help.”

Struggling To Pay Your Bills?

If you are struggling to pay your bills, talk to our trained advisers. There is no cost in talking to us and you are under absolutely no obligation to use any of the solutions we may suggest to you. Our friendly advisers are experienced and non-judgemental.

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Jaguar Land Rover Job Losses

5,000 Jobs Cut at Jaguar Land Rover

By | News

5,000 Jobs Cut at Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover has announced today that it is cutting 5,000 jobs from its UK workforce of over 40,000.

Although some production staff may be affected, it is expected that the majority of the job losses will be in management, marketing and admin roles, as part of a £2.5bn cost-cutting plan.

Experts have claimed the loss-cutting exercise is due to combined contributing factors; loss of Chinese sales and fewer diesel sales. The former being a major contribution, as the Chinese market is JLR’s biggest (and most profitable) market has fallen by nearly 50% in recent months.

Over the years JLR has seen a massive increase in employee numbers – more than doubling in the last six years, and unions are keen to examine whether the company is permanently reducing its UK production capacity, or if this is just a short-term measure.

Responding to JLR’s expected jobs announcement, Labour’s shadow business minister Rebecca Long Bailey said:
“We await details of Jaguar Land Rover’s plans but urge the government to look at the business case for these proposed redundancies when they are announced and to work closely with Jaguar Land Rover and the trade unions to ensure that all UK redundancies are purely on a voluntary basis.”

Change in Circumstances

One of the biggest causes of debt in the UK is ‘change of circumstances’. In general people live within their means, however when things happen beyond your control, such as losing your job, your financial situation can change drastically and you can very quickly find yourself getting into financial trouble.

If you are struggling with meeting repayments, contact our friendly advisers and see how we can help. There is no fee for our advice, and absolutely no obligation to use any of the advice or services we may suggest to you.

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Record Debt Levels

By | Financial Help, News

Record Debt Levels

UK households now have an average of £15,385 of unsecured debts!

This shocking figure comes from a recent TUC survey, the trade union body suggests this rise is due to a combination of austerity and wage stagnation in 2018. This figure is likely to not be entirely representative however, as the TUC included student loans in these figures, and this is a different kind of debt in that you only repay it when you can afford it, and it has no effect on your credit rating or ability to obtain further credit. The Bank of England places the average debt at around half the TUC’s amount.

The research also found out that on average, workers are expected to start the year with £252 debt left over from the festive period, with the majority of people unable to repay even this debt until May!

Know Your Balance

The first step to gaining control over your finances is knowing exactly how much money you have in your account at all times.

Budget

Write down all the money you bring in and take away essentials such as rent/mortgage, utility bills and food. If you have money left over, then you can plan what else you can spend. If you have nothing left over, look at ways you could cut costs.

Pay Off More Than The Minimum

If you are repaying a credit card, try to repay more than the minimum amount.

Highest Interest First

If you have multiple cards, try and repay the ones with the highest interest rate first.

Get Advice

If you’re struggling month after month, and see no sign of light at the end of the tunnel, contact Debt Assist today.

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Dad-of-Three Tried To Kill Himself Over Universal Credit

By | News

Dad-of-Three Tried To Kill Himself Over Universal Credit

Dad-of-three, Dean Lovell-Payne, took a massive overdose in September whilst on the phone to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), after having to cope for almost three months without receiving ANY benefits at all.

Dean stated that after ten weeks with no form of benefits, he believed that his life insurance would pay out more quickly that his new Universal Credit benefits. He and his wife Paula were close to having to put their children into care, which is why he took such a drastic course of action.

The former ambulance worker, from Poole, Dorset, said: “Each and every day is horrendous.
I realised it was utterly hopeless and that my life insurance would be more likely to pay out in time to help my family than Universal Credit was.
“I thought it was my only option to stop them suffering.
“I took an overdose.
“I didn’t even hang-up the phone. I told the soulless b*****d exactly what I was doing.
“It seemed like the only way my family would be safe and no longer suffering, the only end to the hardship and insecurity.
“The next thing I knew the police and ambulance arrived.
“I survived the overdose because I had tolerance to the painkillers and sleeping tablets I had taken, by luck more than judgement.
“But I am not the same person. I’m anxious, fearful and distrusting of anyone in the benefits system.
“Although I survived, I don’t see much of a future for myself.”

He received his benefits the same day that police altered the DWP to the incident.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We sympathise with the distress Mr Lovell-Payne felt.

“Jobcentre staff handled his claim sensitively and in line with their duty of care.
“A Universal Credit payment was made as soon as Mr Lovell-Payne’s claim had been properly verified.”

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