The human cost of debt

posted by in Budgeting

Our new debt video, produced by our press team for the launch of the 2011 Statistics Yearbook, is well worth watching [update: video not available].

If you’re in debt

If you’re suffering with a debt problem:

  • Don’t hold on to the misunderstanding that “It’ll get better”. Your debts will continue to accrue fees, interest and charges
  • Talk to someone close about your debt. It’s much less likely to ruin a relationship than you may think
  • Debt affects mental health. Getting debt help can help clear your thoughts. If you’re having mental health issues, contact your GP today
  • If you need help use our online advice service Debt Remedy, or give us a call now. The people featured in the video did, and they’re on the way to becoming debt free

What are your experiences with debt? Do you identify with the lady in the video? Let us know below.

At StepChange Debt Charity we want you to be free of debt and save money.

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  • Mark

    I like the client involvement in this video, as an employee of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) who has no client interaction, it shows the world how much difference we as a charity can make and also showed me what clients go through, how we can change peoples lives and how it still affects them. There isn’t one reason why any one with debt should go anywhere other than CCCS and I’m glad that this video demonstrates that so very well. A very informative video.

  • Vivian Westwood

    I can totally relate to this, Unfortunately for me I never discovered CCCS and spiralled into depression and debt and very similar to the lady in the video.
    I had split up from my partner and had to move out of the property and did so with over £25000 of debt.
    I hated my job and was promoted, and promoted again to higher paid and higher stressed jobs and was making myself worse.
    I just wanted to end it all and didn’t think that I was ever going to be free again.
    Luckily for me I met my current partner who helped me out and paid some of my debts off and loaned me money to pay off others with no interest.
    Years later and I am almost free, I am still paying my partner but I do not worry every time I hear someone at the door or get frightened whenever there is a phone call.
    The people that have purchased debts will put you under tremendous pressure and speak to you as though you are a piece of dirt that they had trodden in and keep doing it to work you into submission.
    These companies are ruthless and it is them that make you feel that suicide is your only way out of the dark passage you have woken up in.
    The government should step in to stop these new Payday loan lenders that are cropping up all over the place, with the repayment of 5500%apr it is just asking people to get deeper and deeper into trouble.
    I hope that people that are in the situation that I was in can find this website so they know that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  • terence

    This short visceral film is food for thought. I can’t believe that someone would contemplate taking their life over debt, I suppose the lady must have felt utterly desperate. Thankfully the CCCS were there for her. The CCCS staff come across as very compassionate. With all that’s going on in the economy, this should be a public information film.

  • Hi all, many thanks for your comments and compliments.

    It’s a very powerful video, and we hope that it’s one that will help convince people to get assistance over their debts.

  • Jerry Cornelius

    The worst thing about having a bad credit rating I encountered was when taking a new job which would go a long way towards getting debt free, the job offer was cancelled because they ran a credit check on me and I had a bad credit rating! How are you supposed to get out of debt and get a stable credit rating again if you can’t work?

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  • Helen

    Thanks to the cccs we have our live back!!
    It started when I was only 18 and the bank through money at me like it was monopoly money, credit cards, store cards then a nice personal loan for a car then overdraft and so it went on.
    My debts built up over a long period of time, and once you get used to living off the plastic it becomes harder and harder not to use it, as all your spare income goes on those credit bills once a month!
    My bubble was about to burst, debt out of complete control, had a young child plus new born baby I took the plunge and rang the cccs.
    My heart was in my mouth and spoke so fast the advisor lady who was lovely had to stop and calm me down!
    It was the best phone call of my life, made me feel my life was back and I could enjoy it again without looking over my shoulder.
    I have a long way to go until I am debt free, but I now live with NO CREDIT! What I earn I live off and have become very carefull with money.
    So, thank you cccs, you turned our life around x

  • john johnson

    I am very concerned re the comment left by Jerry,I have just had a job offer which is subject to background checks,could a DMP see the offer cancelled ?

    • Hi John,

      You shouldn’t worry unduly, there are only very few professions – such as those ‘high up’ in the financial industry – where a credit check is required. We’ve written about this before here:

      Will my boss find out I’m in debt?

      As we say at the end of the article:

      And to answer the question we posed in the title, no, in most cases they won’t find out.

      Hope this helps put your mind at rest, and we hope the job is successful!

  • Anthony

    I think the hardest thing is being honest with youre self and youre loved ones ,i had a good job had a very good wage ,but yes we just lived the live we couldnt really pay for. I lost my leg in a car accident spent months in hospital ,had to give up my job ,and for months daily i would have faceless hearless people demaning money . In the end after talking with my wife i made the phone call ,and after 3 years am starting to see the light ,as for the phonecalls they stopped .all i can say is thank you

  • Rose

    I too had money thrown at me in the form of credit cards. When it all became too much to handle I suffered from clinical depression and was absent from work. The debts built up from 1 missed payment and the phone calls were frequent and hostile. CCCs absolutely saved my life and I now live without any form of credit. Thanks CCCS for all the support.

  • Daniel

    Having started a well paid job in my late teens and at a time when banks were throwing credit cards and loans my way, I built up debts of £70 thousand pounds over a number of years, supporting my then partner through a five year university degree. When the relationship ended, I realised the seriousness and extent of my debt and spent months of sleeplessness nights, which escalated into calls from the creditors and me trying to pay one minimum payment to one credit card by using another. I recall very distinctly spending at least two hours working up the courage to ring the CCCS and was literally physically shaking when I made the call. It’s the best call I’ve ever made. I have found CCCS staff to be non-judgemental and highly professional. They have assisted me in planning to pay all my debt back as quickly as possible and Im pleased to say I’ll be debt free in just over one year! Thanks to all at CCCS. You are doing a great job.

  • Sandra

    I have just viewed the video, The Human Cost of Debt, and so identified with the lady in the video. Stress, depression, retail therapy ….I have thought of suicide MANY times! I contacted CCCS and they were so kind and helpful. That first phone call was such a big step. Failure, uselessness, guilt, shame, embarassment were all emotions that had to be overcome. I now live with no credit cards and a bank account with no overdraft. THAT has helped tremendously. I feel I am managing better although I am on a very tight budget. I have no job money coming in at the moment as I am not working and sometimes I am down to a few GBP until the next week’s pension money comes in (I am over 60, so am one of the statistics). I still find retail therapy a drug, so that is my fault for not sticking to my budget. It does mean that if there is no money in the bank, or cash in hand – I can’t buy it and I can’t get into further debt. Money problems eat at my stomach. I feel physically ill and I think there is a HUGE physical cost of debt to the human body. I still am depressed and my GP prescribed anti-depressants, and together with CCCS’s help, suicide is no longer an option. I am very grateful to CCCS for their assistance. Thank you. ‘This too will pass’ – with their help!