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UK News

Crippling loneliness of those in debt revealed by Christians Against Poverty

by Chantalle Edmunds

Seventy-five percent of new clients working with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) said they had felt lonely during the pandemic with 31 percent feeling like they hadn't had a meaningful conversation with anyone in over a week.

The survey also showed over half of those seeking help felt they had nobody to turn to when they had a problem, with 28 percent considering or attempting suicide as a way out. 

Just under half had waited to get help because they felt ashamed with 44 percent not seeking help because they were afraid. Forty-two percent waited before seeking assistance because of feelings of guilt.

Christians Against Poverty surveyed around 900 new clients, asking them about the debt and isolation they experienced before coming to CAP for help.

CAP's national partnership manager, Helen Webb told Premier why so many new clients have felt lonely: "When we talk to our clients, they tell us they are fearful and anxious. They're embarrassed or they're afraid about seeking that help. And so they're obviously worried about if I'm just going to come knocking at the door asking them for money or trying to invade that space. 

"So, the answer for them really is to shut the door and stay at home because if you are struggling with debt, you're concerned about obviously paying your bills and things like that, but you don't have any money for anything social. So, you can't go out, you can't meet your friends, you can't go for a drink, you're really constrained and essentially trapped in your home - that's ultimately how people are feeling."

Webb added that they also have to come to terms with another very sad statistic, that 28 per cent of clients have considered or attempted suicide before coming to work with them.

"Part of that will be due to the fact that they are sat in their homes and we have had to help people with that. Often our booking line will take calls from people who are saying, 'I am so desperate. I'm thinking of taking my own life', or 'I am completely stressed out about the situation I face'. Our big message is there's something that we can do to help you and that's the biggest thing that we want to say, there is help available free from Christians Against Poverty."

CAP client, Laura, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, added in a statement: "I was petrified of everybody, I was very isolated. I had lost my job through it. 

"[With CAP] it was like someone wrapping their wings around me. That's the biggest thing that's ever happened in my life - it's knowing that someone is there when you need help. Rather than being alone."

You can book an appointment with CAP by calling Freephone 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org. 

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