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Debt loneliness increasing despite end to Covid lockdown, research reveals

By Alan Beresford

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PEOPLE in debt in Scotland are feeling more isolated now than during the lockdown, new research has revealed.

CAP National Director for Scotland Emma Jackson. Picture: CAP
CAP National Director for Scotland Emma Jackson. Picture: CAP

Free debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Scotland has released new figures which show that despite lockdowns ending and Covid-19 restrictions being eased, the financial pressure from the cost of living crisis is leaving people in problem debt even more isolated.

The survey reveals that before seeking free debt help, three fifths (60 per cent) of CAP’s clients felt lonely often or always (51 per cent during Covid-19 restrictions October/November 2020).

Two fifths (40 per cent) felt as though they had not had a meaningful conversation in over a week (previously 31 per cent) while two thirds (64 per cent) often or always felt they had nobody to turn to when they had a problem (previously 58 per cent).

For more than two thirds (68per cent), debt meant they were scared to answer the phone, two fifths (40 per cent) were afraid to leave the house and more than half (55 per cent) were too afraid to even answer a knock at the door

The proportion who thought no one could help has increased from 34 per cent to 43 per cent since Covid-19 restrictions were eased

CAP Scotland’s National Director Emma Jackson said: “For many of us, the easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland meant an end to isolation, but for thousands of low income households struggling with problem debt and poverty, the isolation and loneliness they feel is actually getting worse due to the cost of living crisis and mounting debts.

“Right now we know many people are feeling isolated, scared and forgotten as they struggle alone with their debts, not aware of the free help available. As part of CAP Scotland’s free debt help, we offer emotional and practical, community based support, to help people who feel isolated and reduce loneliness.

“Living with the kind of constant anxiety that debt creates often leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

A study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that half of all adults with a debt problem are also living with mental ill-health. The Mental Health Foundation identifies debt as creating a considerable burden, made worse by dealing with it alone.

Ms Jackson added: “Struggling with the burden of problem debt by yourself can lead to other serious mental health challenges.

"I’d say to anyone out there, don’t suffer alone and in isolation, but get in touch today for some friendly support and specialist advice, to see how we can help.”

Contact CAP Scotland on 0800 328 0006 or visit capscotland.org to find out more about the support available in your area.

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