Press release: Calls to Samaritans about financial issues double

Annual survey reflects a nation worried about money

Calls to Samaritans’ helpline about financial worries have doubled in the three years since the onset of the financial crisis. One in five people contacting the charity this year talked about job concerns, housing problems, debt and other financial pressures, doubling from one in ten calls in 2008*.

These issues are reflected in Samaritans’ annual survey of the nation’s worries, published today, which reveal that almost 60 per cent of people (58%) fear they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in the coming year. Over a third of people surveyed (36%) are concerned about losing their job or having difficulty finding work.

The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people across the UK shows the top five worries of the nation over the last year (2011) are:

  1. Money/bank balance/debt – 50%
  2. Problems/issues with family and friends – 33%
  3. Physical health issues – 32%
  4. Domestic politics/current Government – 29%
  5. World affairs – 27%

Samaritans’ Chief Executive, Catherine Johnstone, said: “Samaritans receives over 2.5 million calls a year and, since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the number of people calling us about their money worries has doubled. If you’re struggling to cope with the challenges you’re facing in these difficult times, we’d encourage you to get in touch with Samaritans. Our service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available throughout the Christmas period.”

Other key findings:

  • Job security and redundancy have been worrying both unemployed people (41%) and those working full time (36%).
  • Of everyone in the UK, Londoners have been most worried about neighbourhood issues (15% compared to the 6% in the East Midlands which was the lowest).
  • Nearly a quarter of people (24%) considered 2011 a bad year or their worst year ever, compared with 30 per cent in 2010**.
  • The 18-24 age group was most worried about loneliness in the past year (18% compared to 10% of people aged 55+).
  • The top five things people are most hopeful will improve in 2012 are their financial situation (31%), physical health (19%), relationships with family and friends (17%), job security (14%) and domestic politics/current Government (14%). A quarter of people (25%) said they thought none of the things listed would improve.
  • People said small acts of kindness, such as someone smiling at them (53%), giving them a hug (52%) or a compliment (52%), listening to them (44%) and having time to chat (44%), helped brighten their day.
  • 29 per cent of people said they won’t have any New Year’s resolutions for 2012, but the top three resolutions included losing weight (31%), starting to get more exercise (25%) and saving money (18%).

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For further information about the survey or to set up interviews please contact Elspeth McAusland in Samaritans’ press office, on 020 8394 8348 or email press@samaritans.org

Samaritans’ out-of-hours press phone number is 07943 809162

Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2146 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29 November and 1 December 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

*These figures are based on a survey of the calls that six Samaritans’ branches received during a week from 31 October – 6 November 2011. This survey has been done annually since 2008.

**A similar survey was also conducted in 2010. Total sample size was 2138 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30 November and 2 December 2010.  The survey was carried out online. The figures were weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Samaritans:

Our volunteers are there 24/7 to offer confidential, non-judgemental support to anyone feeling down, unhappy, anxious or stressed, by phone: 08457 90 90 90 (UK) or 1850 60 90 90 (ROI); email: jo@samaritans.org; or face-to-face: visit www.samaritans.org for details of your local branch.