Constant contact from debt collectors can affect mental health
"When the pandemic hit, most of my creditors were a lot more understanding than they previously had been due to the various moratoriums in place. However, as things started to open back up again, my creditors were contacting me incessantly with letters, calls and texts which had a really threatening tone.
"On more than one occasion an enforcement agent called the school that I worked at to try and get hold of me – the receptionists had no idea what was going on.
"A few weeks later, I attempted to end my life due to the state of my mental health and the pressure the increasingly hostile approaches by creditors was placing on me. I simply couldn’t see a way out.
"After my suicide attempt, I became a patient at my local NHS mental health crisis team, and they referred me to StepChange. They printed out the information I needed on a Saturday and I picked up the phone as soon as the lines opened on the Monday.
Getting on the Breathing Space scheme
"My first call lasted around 90 minutes and I went through a full debt advice session with the advisor. I found the process to be a relief despite having to finally learn exactly how much debt I had accumulated. I was placed on the Breathing Space scheme, which was exactly what I needed to get everything in order – I was also referred to GamCare and needed time to set up things like settings that excluded me from all gambling sites.
"In total, I had 60 days to put everything in place and work on improving my mental health before embarking on the start of my Debt Management Plan (DMP), as well as having time to work up the courage to tell my friends and family about my situation. I knew that I wanted to choose an option that enabled me to pay back my debts and move on and my DMP has enabled me to put a plan in place to achieve this.
"Aside from wanting to pay back the debts out of principle, I had since also decided to change careers and I wouldn’t have wanted an insolvency option because it could limit my future career options.
Coming to Stepchange has been a literal lifesaver, and I was relieved to discover that all of the debt advisors are so kind and helpful. It feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to move on with my life."
Names have been changed.