Blue Monday 2013: Payplan reveal Blue Monday call statistics

Written by Payplan Ryan on 18 January 2013

Payplan reveals the effects of not facing up to your debts.

Payplan, one of the UK’s largest free-to-client debt management companies, claims that despite many people saying their money worries are increasing only one in six can face tackling their debts.

The third Monday in January has been called ‘Blue Monday’ because it is claimed to be one of the most depressing days of the year due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of credit cards bills.

Today (21 Jan) Payplan reveals the increase in the number calls from people struggling with debt on Blue Mondays over the last five years. It is also highlighting its work with psychologist, Mandy Rutter, showing why burying your head in the sand over debt can lead to more serious health problems.

Peter Munro, a debt expert at Payplan, said: “We know that January, particularly Blue Monday, is a time when people traditionally begin to think about their money problems. Credit card bills arrive, Christmas spending begins to take its toll, household bills are increasing and many people also have concerns about job security.

“Over the past five years we have seen an increase in the amount of people contacting Payplan for help – but we know that it is just the tip of the iceberg and that many more people are still not facing up to their debts.

“Since 2008 Payplan has received 10,471 calls during Blue Monday week (third week in January) from people struggling with debt problems. Over 2,000 of these calls have been on Blue Mondays and the average unsecured debt of these clients is just over £28,000. In the East Midlands the calls rose from 39 on Blue Monday in 2008 to 63 in 2012; in the West Midlands the calls rose from 28 on Blue Monday in 2008 to 41 in 2012 and in London during the same period the calls rose from 36 to 52.

“As we know there are many more people suffering in silence with debt we have been working with Mandy Rutter, a psychologist, to look at what effects not taking action can have on a person’s health.”

Mandy Rutter works for the employee assistance and psychological rehabilitation company Validium and refers clients to Payplan if they need help dealing with debt. She explains why: “In our society today, the perception of most people is that the amount of money we have is linked to our value as a person. Hence if we have lots of money we must be successful and important, the down side of this is that when we don’t have money we feel a failure, unimportant, lacking worth and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.

“This view often means that when we get into financial difficulties we don’t go for help quickly enough. We feel we will be judged and criticised and won’t have any reasonable defence. We sometimes feel that we don’t deserve any help. Hence we bury our head in the sand, pretending the problem isn’t there but struggling with it alone whilst it gets worse.  The consequences can be that financially it gets worse and psychologically it gets worse.

“The constant worry of the debt growing, the fear of what will happen in the future and personal burden of carrying this stress alone all leads to worsening mental health. Depression, anxiety, obesity and self-harm have all been shown to be more common in people who have problem debt. If you already suffer from these debilitating conditions it won’t take much to tip you over the edge and cause serious psychological concern.”

Mandy’s advice for anyone who has a debt problem is to seek help, either from an employee assistance programme, from Citizens Advice Bureaux or from a free-to-client debt management company like Payplan.

She added: “There are organisations specifically tasked with helping you through these difficulties. Payplan is one of these organisations and they have trained advisors available at the end of the phone, ready to help you with your financial problem. They won’t take the debt away but they will give you short and long term plans to manage the debt. So that the fear, stigma and stress of your debt is in control. You feel in control of your debt, rather than it being in control of you.”

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This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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