23 Jan 2019

100,000 attempt suicide each year due to debt

Stop the death threats

A new report by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is calling on the Government to change “out-of-date” legislation which forces companies to use intimidating language when collecting debt. The charity says it’s contributing to people in serious debt becoming suicidal.

  • Over 420,000 people in debt problems considered taking their own life in England in 2018.
  • Over 100,000 people in debt actually attempt suicide each year.

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert.com, is urging people to sign a petition to change the law that ‘causes tragedy’. He said, ‘the fact the law set decade ago doesn’t just allow companies to use intimidating language when collecting debt, but near forces them to do so, causes tragedy’.

TheMoney and Mental Health Policy Institute has launched its Stop the Debt Threats reportwhich draws on an in-depth survey of more than 200 people with personal and professional experience of issues around suicide.

An example of the threatening nature of the letter being sent by debt collectors resulting in suicide was brought to light in 2016 when a 20-year-old man, aged just 20 committed suicide after receiving two £65 traffic fines. In the space of just 3-months, that escalated into over £1,000 of debt after the council passed on his debt to bailiffs.

‘A change in the rules could save lives’

Helen Undy, director of the MMHPI, said: “These rules on debt collection letters were meant to make sure that people know their rights and where to get help, but they’re having the opposite effect. The intimidating and threatening language of these letters can leave people suicidal and unsure where to turn. A simple change in these out-of-date rules could genuinely save lives.

Sign the petition for change here