The misery of debt is affecting the nation’s health, according to a survey* commissioned by a leading UK debt advisory company.
The Debt Advisor Limited, based in the North West, saw a massive 40 per cent of respondents agree that their levels of debt were affecting their health. This was closely followed by the affects on their relationship with their nearest and dearest at 34 per cent.
Of those surveyed, 31 per cent were concerned with their levels of debt, and just over 2 per cent of those taking part owed a staggering £30,000 plus in unsecured debt.
The Debt Advisor has been instrumental in a campaign to recognise the wider issues of debt and for organisations and the public alike to take a more holistic approach to debt.
This week, the London School of Economics (LSE) called for increased amounts of psychotherapy to be made available on the NHS to help people suffering from depression or chronic anxiety. The scale has reached epidemic proportions in the UK, with an estimated one in six adults suffering at some stage throughout their lives.
A course of cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps people think more positively, costs around £750 the LSE suggests it would pay for itself in money saved on incapacity benefits and lost tax receipts.
Bev Budsworth, managing director of The Debt Advisor Limited comments: ”The results of the survey speak for themselves, it gives us a real insight into the issues caused by financial problems. Depression and anxiety prevents people working, it’s a slippery slope, and I’ve seen many cases where someone’s health has caused the break-up of a family unit.
“At one end of the scale, we have people who owe significant sums, around the £100,000 mark, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a large sum to cause ructions in a family. Most of the misery goes untreated and that’s why we launched our campaign.
“We saw a direct correlation between debt and depression and to tackle the problem we linked up with a psychologist to offer lifestyle counselling with sound financial advice. We’re still in the early stages, but tangible benefits are being reaped and debtors are turning their lives around.”
Lifestyle aspirations scored highly in the survey as the biggest spending influence (82 per cent), far and above any other area including TV, media, and peer pressure.
* Total respondents taking part in the survey = 116
The Debt Advisor
Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall
Bell Pottinger North
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 - www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk <http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk/> - there is useful information including an online debt calculator to assist with budgeting.
Bev Budsworth is an insolvency practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with debt issues.
A regular media commentator, Bev has spoken on a wide-range of issues including divorce, self-certificated mortgages, DIY, mature debt and online gambling. She has been regularly quoted in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Daily and Sunday Express as well as women’s magazines including Woman and Red. In the last 12 months she has offered advice on regional television news programmes and BBC local radio phone-ins.
In June 2000 she established The Debt Advisor, one of the first firms to offer comprehensive advice on all debt issues. She had previously spent 17 years with an international firm of chartered accountants where she specialised in personal and business insolvency.
Her experience of dealing with personal debt issues led in 2005 to her being asked to join a government-led working party to look at ways of simplifying the formal procedures of helping people out of debt.
Since then she has led the way in calling for a professional personal debt/insolvency study course to be set up for all people involved in debt advice to individuals.
She works together with a psychologist and they have developed strategies to help motivate clients to change their lifestyle. As a busy married mother of three teenage children she understands the pressures that families face. She believes that with a positive outlook there is always a sensible way to deal with financial difficulties and turn lives around.
Bev recently launched a campaign to bring about a greater understanding of debt and its links to depression giving debtors in the UK access to a two-pronged approach to relieve the misery caused by debt. She is the first in the UK to offer 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.