The Scourge of Loneliness and Debt

20.06.2022

In their Client Report for 2022, ‘On the Edge’ *, published on 20th June, our friends at national debt charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) highlight a number of significant concerns currently facing many people in debt.

Some of the primary reasons leading to debt remain mental ill health; family breakdown; low income and problems with budgeting. Strikingly, at least 50% of their clients waited at least a year to come forward and seek help with debt with the main reasons being linked to the stigma and embarrassment. At this time of increasing concerns about the cost of living and its’ impact on many households across the country, it seems that this is an issue which is – unfortunately – likely to get worse before it gets better. The report goes on to highlight the many ways in which CAP makes a huge difference to those with financial challenges who engage with them.

The report also highlights the fact that loneliness and isolation are often inextricably linked to issues around debt. ‘Trapped underwater, running out of air and believing there is no way out, it’s not difficult to imagine why many CAP clients report having felt lonely and isolated when they were in debt.’ They also found that there had been an increase in levels of loneliness since their last report in 2020 (despite a year of lockdown) with levels rising from 51% to 60% who had felt lonely always or often.

‘Trapped underwater, running out of air and believing there is no way out, it’s not difficult to imagine why many CAP clients report having felt lonely and isolated when they were in debt.’

There were also increases in behaviour that can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation. For 68% [of people], debt meant they were scared to answer the phone. 40% were afraid to leave the house, and 55% were too afraid to even answer a knock at the door.’

As with many social issues, lonelienss and debt can often become a vicious cycle in which increasing levels of debt leads to greater likelihood of cutting ties with supportive networks leading to reduced chances of addressing the root causes. It remains crucial, therefore for charities, agencies and statutory bodies to work together where possible and explore ways in which we can all play our part in building stronger communities, improving health and wellbeing and identifying and addressing root causes wherever possible.

Jeremy Sharpe is National Director of Linking Lives UK 

*‘On the Edge’ Client Report, Christians Against Poverty June 2022 click on the image below to read it in full.

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