Every year in September, organisations around the world campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention for World Suicide Prevention Day. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Samaritans to talk about suicide prevention ready for #WorldSuicidePreventionDay.

Why is it important to talk about suicide?

According to the Samaritans’ website[i], there were over 6,200 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2017 alone. In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives as women, and in Ireland they are four times more likely to do so.

Biggest causes of suicide

The most common cause of suicide is untreated depression[ii]; however, there are often other causes beyond mental illness including financial worries, addiction, crises and terminal illnesses.

Coping with money worries

Feeling low or anxious is a normal response if someone is struggling with debt, but it can all too often be the case that those who are struggling financially see no end in sight to their debt and bills.

A recent PayPlan[iii] survey on the link between mental health and debt found that prior to seeking support, 85% of clients said that being in debt impacted their mental health, reporting feelings of stress (91%), anxiety (84%) and depression (68%).

Almost half of those surveyed visited their doctor about the effect debt was having on their mental health, yet doctors only recommended them to seek advice in a third of cases.

The number one concern for clients in debt is how they are going to pay their bills (88%), while others said they felt they didn’t have anyone to talk to (39%) and a third were worried about how it would impact on their performance at work.

Life after debt – the importance of talking about money worries

What’s encouraging, the survey also clearly shows the positive effects that seeking advice has on wellbeing.

93% of people said that after seeking advice, their mental wellbeing improved and stress levels reduced, a huge 95% said they now feel confident in managing their money and 69% said they now feel like they can open up to friends and family about their situation.

Over two thirds found PayPlan’s online journey to be beneficial for their mental health, as they were able to complete and digest important financial information in their own time.

Are there warning signs of getting into debt?

More often than not, there aren’t warning signs that someone will be in problem debt in the near future. What seems affordable one moment can suddenly become an issue due to events like going on maternity leave, being made redundant or facing a bereavement.

Other signs include:

  • Borrowing money to make repayments
  • If your outgoings are higher than your income
  • Paying for essentials on credit cards
  • Letters from creditors
  • Mood swings
  • Increased alcohol consumption

Talk to the Samaritans

No matter what is happening, there are always people out there to listen and support you. If you have spoken to friends and family, but feel like you’d like to talk to someone independent then you could call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123.

Fiona Bonser, Listening Volunteer at Samaritans, commented:

“Here at Samaritans, we recognise the importance of taking some time to look after yourself and to reach out for support, whether you’re struggling yourself or supporting someone who is. Samaritans are here round the clock, whatever you’re facing, and will give you a calm space to talk things through in your own time.

“Many callers I speak to don’t know where to start, particularly about problem debt, but that’s absolutely fine. Picking up the phone is a start and the trained Samaritans volunteer will hear your thoughts and may ask questions to help explore how you’re feeling. We won’t judge or tell you what to do – we’ll listen.”

Talk to PayPlan

If you would like to start a confidential conversation about financial worries or problem debt, speak to one of our trained advisers, visit our website or speak to your employer representative today. Call PayPlan today on 0800 316 1833 or visit www.payplan.com

[i] www.samaritans.org/scotland/about-samaritans/media-guidelines/suicide-facts-journalists

[ii] https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/07/23/15-common-causes-of-suicide-why-do-people-kill-themselves/

[iii] www.payplanpro.com/being-in-debt-impacted-their-mental-health