To celebrate Talk Money Week (12th-18th November), debt charity Stepchange has revealed new evidence from clients about how taking debt advice is helping them feel better, sleep better, and feel more confident about making ends meet.
The charity has introduced a major new rolling client tracking survey to capture information about what kind of differences people report after they have taken debt advice. This will help the charity to monitor and improve its own services, and it also provides powerful evidence of the difference that good advice can make.
While there are no quick and easy fixes to serious debt problems, for many people taking the first step is the hardest. The thought of picking up the phone, or beginning the online debt advice process, can be daunting. Yet just three months later, four-fifths (79%) of StepChange clients report an upturn in their wellbeing on at least one measure.
On individual measures, three months after debt advice:
- Two thirds (67%) of clients said they were confident of making ends meet every or most months over the next 6 months.
- Two thirds (67%) of clients said they worried less about their debts than they did before they received advice from the charity.
- 56% said they felt able to deal with day to day life better than before advice.
- 51% said they were sleeping better than they did before contacting the charity.
As the National Audit Office recently highlighted, the costs of problem debt to the wider economy are huge. It makes sense to try to ensure that people get help before their debt problems cause further knock-on impacts on their health, housing and wellbeing. So the main message to people worrying about debt is to take the first step – the evidence suggests that they will feel better for it.
Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said “We already know the huge sense of relief that people feel when they successfully become free of problem debt, often after years of hard slog to achieve that result. But what is exciting to find is that, for four out of five people, worthwhile benefits are felt just three months after taking debt advice. This Talk Money Week, we would urge anyone suffering in silence over their debt to take the first step and seek free debt advice from one of the reputable charities who can help them.”