Britain Get Talking: Asking difficult questions

“I even contemplated ending my life. That’s how bad I felt through the depression and everything I was dealing with” Tina tells me, her voice cracking slightly as she remembers the dark depths to which spiralling debts took her.

Tina Credit: ITV Border

She pauses, takes a deep breath and continues, “but since I’ve consolidated it all, I’ve managed…” tears fill her eyes, “I’ve managed to turn my life around. I’m no longer in debt and I even manage to save for a rainy day.”

Amid all the sadness, a smile creeps across her lips as she tells of bouncing back and finally taking control of the financial burden which has dogged her for 15 or more.

Credit: ITV Border

As we chat at the Citizens Advice Service in Dumfries, I’m struck by the bravery of people prepared to share harrowing stories on camera.

I ask if Tina wants to take a break, but she insists we press on, saying that her interview might help someone else ask for help. “We all think that if we come forward, we’re failures. Which makes depression even harder to deal with. This stigma of debt and depression. It needs to be taken away, so people can come forward and talk about their problems. Seek help - because you feel better for it.”

Tina’s story is part of a TV report looking at the link between debt and poor mental health. At this time of year, with the Christmas credit card bills arriving and the heating being turned up, many will hit crisis point. Citizens Advice staff told me they’re braced for a busy start to 2020.

WATCH: Citizens Advice in Dumfries help people with spiralling debt and financial problems:

Credit: PA

A few days later, we’re filming with Support in Mind at their Employability Service in Dumfries and it's really inspirational to meet so many positive people in the face of adversity.

Support worker Nina came through the service herself. With a smile on her face as she reflected on her own journey, she remembered going home in tears on her first day, being unable to look anyone in the eye for weeks.

Now she comes to work each day helping others to rebuild their lives.

Credit: ITV Border

In my job, I spend a fair bit of time pointing cameras at people and asking them to open up about their toughest times.

I suspect I’m not the only reporter who feels a bit guilty sometimes asking people to speak to us and it's important to know where to draw the line. But more often than not they are happy - and even keen - to welcome us in, even in their darkest hours.

It shows massive trust in us and ITV and we know how important that is. They open up, make us a cup of tea and talk. About the loss of a loved one, a terrible medical condition or - in this case - mental health struggles. Why? Because they know - as we do - that it’s good to talk.

If doing that helps someone else seek help, we’ve all made a difference.

WATCH: Charity Support in Mind help people with mental health issues into employment by building up their skills and confidence:

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