Debt Problems Linked to 100,000 Attempted Suicides Each Year

December 7, 2018

As many as 100,000 people attempt suicide each year in part because of their problems with personal debt, according to a recent study.

The shocking figures, which relate only to England rather than the whole UK, suggest that in the region of 420,000 people nationwide consider taking their own lives each year because of their debts.

Furthermore, people with problem debts are believed to be roughly three times more likely to have considered suicide then those who don’t have those problems.

The figures have been drawn from Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys at the request of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which is working to raise awareness of the links between mental health issues and problem debts across the UK.

The institute has said that it wants to see changes to laws that effectively instruct creditors and people acting on their behalf to incorporate what can be intimidating messages in their letters to debtors.

It says that a great many people who are in debt through overdrafts, store cards, credit cards and personal loans can feel bombarded with demands for money and warnings of the potential consequences of non-payment.

Some people are known to find these kinds of demands stressful to receive and sometimes they can be triggering of mental health problems, which can then lead to suicidal thoughts in some cases.

“These rules on debt collection letters were meant to make sure that people know their rights and where to get help, but they’re having the opposite effect,” says Helen Undy, a director with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

“The intimidating and threatening language of these letters can leave people suicidal and unsure where to turn. A simple change in these out-of-date rules could genuinely save lives.”

In November, the Money and Mental Health Institute revealed that there are close to 2.3 million people across the UK who have been forced to limit the amount of paid work they do each week as a result of the mental health challenges they face.

For a sizable proportion of those people, the issue has resulted in a deterioration of their personal finances and a significant worsening of their debt management situation.

Joanne Wright

Head Adviser at our Manchester Office

Tel: 0800 001 4247
Email: enquiries@ukdebt.org.uk

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