Too many people in debt don't ask for help

The West Country has some extreme deprivation. Around one in five adults in South Bristol is in severe debt - that's around 16,000 people. Plymouth is not far behind.

The worrying thing for debt professionals is so few people are coming forward. Just one in six people in debt is asking for advice.

1 in 5

Adults in South Bristol in extreme debt

1 in 6

People in debt actually ask for advice

Well our worst case scenario is the amount of people that phone up and say they're going to kill themselves. That's your most extreme and we do get a fair bit of that.

Fran Begley, South Bristol Advice Services

The Money Advice Service has filmed with Jane from Bristol who got into debt after having to give up work. Here she describes how it all happened very easily.

Some of the reasons people get into financial difficulties:

  • The cost of living in Bristol has gone up a lot in the last 3 to 4 years

  • The private rental market has risen in recent years

  • Basic utility bills have gone up

  • Food prices are increasing

  • Stagnant wages

  • Freezing or reduction in benefits

See how Jane's financial situation got her down:

It took a lot of courage but Jane eventually sought help from a debt advisor. She found it very difficult to talk about owing money and who she owed money too but it worked out. Jane is now debt free and not dreading the next demanding letter through the door.

Jane's story is all too common but the Money Advice Service says it needn't happen to others. You can even find help near you thanks to its Debt Advice Locator

Caroline Siarkiewicz from the Money Advice Service told our presenter Ian Axton that people need to ask for help just like they would a doctor if they were ill.