As part of Loneliness Awareness Week, Christians Against Poverty, the debt help charity, is highlighting how crippling debt often leads to serious isolation.
THE LONELINESS STORY
Christians Against Poverty’s (CAP) National Partnership Manager, Helen Webb, tells the story of debt and loneliness: “Imagine being up to your eyeballs in debt. There are constant phone calls, letters and knocks at the door from people demanding money.
“You feel ashamed, embarrassed and scared to tell friends or family. Your natural instinct is to lock yourself away, hide and leave the house as little as possible, desperately trying to avoid conversation when you do have to go out.
“You feel trapped, isolated and broken. Your anxiety, depression and fear consumes you and you begin to think taking your own life might be the only way out.
“Then imagine going through all of that during a worldwide pandemic, where loved ones aren’t able to see you or spot that something may be wrong. They aren’t able to encourage you to seek free debt help or tell you it will be ok and that there is a solution.
“That’s the situation thousands of people have been facing.”
THE IMPACT OF DEBT AND LONELINESS
During the pandemic, Christians Against Poverty surveyed around 900 new clients, asking them about the debt and isolation they experienced before coming to CAP for help:
Three quarters (75%) felt lonely, with half (51%) often or always feeling this way.
Over half (58%) felt they had nobody to turn to when they had a problem.
One in three (31%) felt they hadn’t had a meaningful conversation in over a week.
Many waited to get help because they felt ashamed (49%), afraid (44%) or guilty (42%).
Over a quarter (28%) considered or attempted suicide as a way out.
CAP client, Laura*, says, “I was petrified of everybody, I was very isolated. I had lost my job through it.
“[With CAP] it was like someone wrapping their wings around me. That’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my life – it’s knowing that someone is there when you need help, rather than being alone.”
Helen Webb continues, “We know for people facing debt, loneliness and isolation, it can be incredibly difficult to take the first step and call for help. We need people to know it’s not their fault. They won’t be judged in any way, our friendly team is here to help.
“Many of our clients tell us they felt an overwhelming sense of relief even after that first call. We want more people in debt to be able to experience that feeling of relief and see a path out of the darkness.
“There is always hope.”
Help is available – contact details below
If you or someone you know feels isolated and trapped in debt, contact Christians Against Poverty today for free debt help.
Book an appointment with CAP by calling Freephone 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org.