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In The Red: The shocking effects of debt laid bare

People in debt are suffering a range of health issues according to charity Christians Against Poverty Credit: PA

The shocking toll that debt takes on people with money worries can be revealed in a special ITV Tyne Tees investigation.

Figures obtained by us from the charity Christians Against Poverty reveals eight out 10 people in debt are having sleepless nights, while the same number were too afraid to open their morning post.

The figures from the charity show:

80%
Of people in debt have sleepless nights
80%
Say they are too afraid to open the post
66%
Said they were too scared to answer the phone

The figures also reveal:

  • 47% of those in debt were sacrificing meals.
  • 38% of people said their debt caused them to suffer from mental illness.

Julie Parker is a debt advisor for the charity and works on Teesside. She says she's seeing more and more people struggling:

People are very proud, and they don't want people to know, so they've probably spent a long time cover things up and make out things are OK when they haven't been.

When they actually get the courage to ring, they are really in a desperate state.

– Debt advisor Julie Parker

Ray Penn was helped by the charity after he, and his partner, went nearly £50,000 in the red.
Now debt free, he says he was getting constant phone calls from agencies chasing debts.

You never rest. You cannot settle ever.

I was getting dozens of phone calls every day. Sometimes it would be a debt collection agency, sometimes it would be the person I owed directly, sometimes it would be multiple debt collection agencies, chasing the same debt.
I got 40 phone calls in one day. At that point you realise, there's a real problem.

– Ray Penn

Where can I go to get help?

There are a host of charities out there who can help if you get into debt:

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