How did your debt problem begin?
I suffer from depression and anxiety, and this caused me to be in denial about how much my ex-husband and I were spending in order to try and give our children the happy childhood that neither of us had experienced. We re-mortgaged our house several times, and had numerous credit cards and loans. Worrying about the debt was a big contributing factor to our marriage breaking down, and it was only then that the full extent of the situation became clear. When I became a StepChange Debt Charity client, I had £30,000 of debt.
Why did you want to become a media volunteer?
I had already been with the charity for six years before I signed up to be a volunteer. Although I don’t really want my private life broadcast, I just thought that if I could help anybody and help to show how easy it is to get into high levels of debt then I would like to do that. There are so many problems for people today, especially for young people. I have sons aged 22 and 25, and if highlighting debt problems can push the politicians to do something for their generation, then that’s really important.
Were there any parts you were worried about?
I’ve changed jobs recently, so I now need to make sure I’m not identified in any interviews I do, and I don’t want to do anything that could potentially make my anxieties worse. But there has never been an issue with me saying I don’t want to do certain things – it’s always a personal choice.
What has your experience been like so far?
After the interview I did with the BBC, the media team said they got a great response, so I was really pleased about that. It’s made me realise how little there is out there, particularly about the links between debt and mental health, so that’s something I really want to see if I can get more involved with in the future.