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New research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute warns that over 100,000 people in debt attempt suicide each year in England. There are normally a wide range of issues which contribute to someone becoming suicidal, but one factor which can make people feel there is no way out is the letters they receive from creditors.
These are often intimidating, written in complex language and can feature threats of court action right at the top. Receiving these letters from multiple lenders on a daily basis can leave people feeling unable to see a solution to their situation.
The content and language of these letters are prescribed by the Consumer Credit Act, which was introduced nearly 45 years ago. We’re calling on the Government to update this out-of-date legislation, by creating new rules requiring creditors to use easy-to-understand language in letters, and to signpost people to sources of support for their debt.
Not only will that help more people deal with debt problems, it will save lives.
Why we’re campaigning
Read about Steve’s experiences of receiving intimidating letters from lenders:
“I have experienced bouts of anxiety and depression at various times in my life, but one of the worst periods was around five years ago, when I was made redundant from my job. My wife had just gone on maternity leave for our second child, and we had recently moved home.
I managed to find work for one day a week, but it was a real struggle financially. The bills were mounting up, and I started receiving letters from companies telling me to ‘pay now’ or warning that if we didn’t make a payment by a certain time, we could go to court.
It’s stressful to open those letters, and to get them on a daily basis. Even for small amounts, you have companies telling you they’re going to send the bailiffs. Something as simple as rewording those letters, to make them less intimidating and let you know there is help and support out there, could make all the difference.”
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Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable. Financial problems can always be resolved. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal feelings, financial difficulties or mental health problems there is advice and support out there.