A greater understanding of debt and its links to depression have brought to the forefront a campaign spearheaded by a leading debt advisor and a psychologist.
For the first time in the UK, debtors will now have access to a two-pronged approach to relieve the misery caused by debt by the joint offering of debt advice and personal counselling under one roof. The campaign is geared to help those who are seriously struggling with the wider effects including depression, relationship breakdown, poor work performance and associated health problems.
Bev Budsworth of The Debt Advisor, who is also a member of a government work party on debt, offers advice on Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA), and the options available to help people sort their debt. Sue Smith, a psychologist, state registered nurse/midwife and a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy and Reiki, will look at the deeper psychological issues and offer advice on lifestyle changes to alleviate depression.
Recent comments, made by the Financial Services Authority, warning of the fragile mental state of those coping with debt, combined with figures released earlier this month by the Department of Trade and Industry showing an increase in the number of personal insolvencies, have prompted Bev Budsworth and Sue Smith to call for a more holistic approach to the debt issue.
Financial problems are commonly thought to account for over a third of all suicides in Japan and Bev Budsworth is concerned that this is not repeated in the UK as the general level of personal debt rises.
Bev Budsworth is also calling upon credit card and loan companies to carefully monitor their debt collection procedures. “It is not uncommon to find that these procedures involve calls to a person’s work place, harassment of spouses, physical visits to homes and threats of action which fall foul of legislation.
“The collection procedures continue even after debt solutions have been put in place. We were recently contacted by a 45-year-old man with debts of around £90,000. With help from a not-for-profit organisation, they had put forward to his creditors a debt reduction scheme; the continued threats from creditors drove him to contemplate suicide. He has since proposed an IVA to his creditors and is on the road to recovery. Joining up with Sue enables us to give our clients the vital emotional support that is needed when the problems relating to debt weigh them down.
“It’s important to get to the root cause of the debt. We live in an ‘I deserve it’ society. People like to comfort buy. It can range from, had a hard day then buy an expensive bottle of wine and a takeaway on the way home to had a busy morning, then you deserve to treat yourself to the mini iPod or the designer shades at lunch.
“We don’t just look for instant gratification for ourselves. We throw money at our problems. Relationship not working? Take a luxury sunshine break. If people aren’t happy they use money as a salve. These people don’t just need practical advice, they need help to address the problem and they need to get help to be mentally equipped going forward as they go cold-turkey on the treats.”
Sue Smith comments: “The need for comfort from external, material sources is often an indicator of poor self-esteem. People with healthy self-esteem are less likely to seek the self-worth associated with purchasing non-essential or luxury items. Improving a person’s self-esteem and empowering them to take responsibility for their own actions can help protect them against the powerful, influences of the media and advertising. It can also help them modify their spending behaviour which in turn addresses the emotional challenges of depression, anxiety, stress and guilt that frequently accompanies financial hardship and debt management issues.”
Budsworth added: “For some people, it is important that they understand that debt isn’t the end of the road. It’s the people who lack support and who haven’t talked through their problems who commit suicide, not those with the greatest debt. There have been cases of debtors committing suicide over as little as £1,000 worth of debt – I’m convinced that proper advice and counselling could prevent those deaths.”
For further information please contact Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North on 01625 506444 or email:
Out of office hours please contact Bev Budsworth on: 07932 603999
Notes to editors
The Debt Advisor is licensed by the Insolvency Practitioners Association to offer skilled and specialist advice on personal debt. Formed in 1999, the Debt Advisor works closely with those in debt to find solutions, which can protect assets from creditors, freeze interest and charges to repay debt in five years or less. At its website – http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk – there is useful information including an online debt calculator to assist with budgeting.
Sue Smith gained over a decade of experience in the medical profession as a State Registered Nurse and State Certified Midwife and specialised in obstetrics and assisted reproduction before diversifying as a health and exercise consultant, personal trainer and provider of teacher training programmes to fitness professionals. She is a graduate of psychology, sociology and biomedical health, is a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, trained hypnotherapist and Time- Line Therapist and Reiki practitioner.
Sue now works in the field of mentoring, coaching and personal development and is passionate about motivating and inspiring people to lead successful and rewarding lives, to reach their highest potential and overcome barriers to personal fulfilment.
She is currently working in partnership with Motivational Systems who are leading experts in the field of social and behaviour change and whose clients range from corporate executives and sporting professionals to voluntary sector agencies working with the most severely financially disadvantaged, socially excluded and disengaged client groups. Using cognitive behaviour techniques she inspires people to change their negative behaviours and dysfunctional cognition whilst enhancing their self-belief, self-efficacy and confidence. By promoting emotional engagement she provokes them to challenge their limiting beliefs, assisting them in building personal awareness, inner strength and self-motivation thus cultivating improved coping skills and more effective stress management techniques. The enhancement of internal motivation assists clients to take personal responsibility and helps them move towards financial independence and achieve a sense of purposefulness that is in alignment with their values hierarchy.