Get help with debt
Posted on 23 March 2022
The rising costs of basic necessities like energy, food and petrol mean that more people are struggling to pay the bills and at risk of financial difficulty. In this situation many people borrow to make ends meet, but it can be difficult to make repayments and sometimes finances hit a crisis point.
The Money Advice Service estimated that 8.3 million people in the UK have problem debt, meaning that they struggle to cope with the money they owe.
Am I one of the 8.3 million?
That’s one in six of us dealing with problem debt - but often people don’t talk about it. There are well-established links between financial worries and mental health, with many people staying silent because they feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, or depressed.
Take a look at the statements below. If you answer yes to two or more, then it’s important to know where to go for debt advice.
- I’m struggling to pay my rent or mortgage
- I can’t afford to pay my council tax
- I’ve missed repayments on my gas, electricity or water bills
- I’ve been contacted by people I owe money to
- It’s a strain to pay off credit cards, loans or my overdraft
- I’m often worried or stressed about my debts
How to get help with debts
There’s evidence that getting free debt advice makes a huge difference to getting out of debt. You don’t need to pay for the help either, so avoid any firms that charge a fee. There are a number of charities and free organisations that will help you work out the next steps.
You can use the Money Advice Service’s tool to find the free debt advice providers and services local to you. You can speak to an adviser face-to-face, over the phone or via webchat.
You could consider going to a debt charity like StepChange. They give completely impartial advice, take control of creditors in some instances, and can create a payment plan for you. Sometimes, reaching out for support from people you don’t know can work better than family or friends.
A debt adviser will:
- never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation
- always be happy to talk to you, however big or small your problem might be
- find ways to manage your debts even if you think you have no spare money
- suggest ways to deal with debts that you might not know about
It’s best to get in touch as early as possible, before the debt has a chance to snowball, but it’s never too late to seek help. Many people who ask for help with debt say they wish they’d done it sooner. Working on a plan will make you feel less stressed or anxious and more in control of your life.
You can also check your employee benefits platform or app to see if you have access to debt advice via an Employee Assistance Programme. This is a confidential 24/7 phone line where you can speak with a trained adviser about anything that’s worrying you and get actionable advice. There’s also an option to see a professional counsellor if needed.