Press release: Calls to Samaritans about Financial issues doubled in 2011

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Calls to Samaritans’ helpline about financial worries in Wales have doubled in the three years since the onset of the financial crisis. One in five people contacting Samaritans in Wales in 2011 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 in December 2011. The survey shows that 62 per cent of people in Wales fear they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in the coming year. More than a third of people (39%) are concerned about losing their job or having difficulty finding work.

The YouGov poll shows the top three worries of people in Wales during 2011 were:

  • Money/bank balance/debt – 56%
  • Problems/issues with family and friends – 36%
  • Physical health issues – 28%

Other key findings are:

  • People in Wales are most worried about money/bank balance/debt (56% compared to 50% nationally).
  • Over half of people (51%) are very worried or fairly worried that they will suffer directly from cuts in spending on public services in 2012.

Samaritans remains concerned about the impact of the recession on people's emotional health and specifically the risk of an increase in suicide rates. Research has shown that economic recessions tend to be accompanied by a higher rate of suicide and that debt problems are often associated with mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is a significant cause of premature mortality in Wales and every year many more people die by suicide in Wales than by traffic accidents.

In order to respond to these concerns Samaritans in Wales are producing new bilingual information cards to raise awareness of our service and to highlight the support we offer to vulnerable groups. Samaritans volunteers, Citizens Advice Bureau and Housing Associations across Wales will be using these cards to remind people about the support Samaritans offers and highlighting Samaritans contact details. The cards will be available in April 2012 and if you or your organisation would like to order them free of charge could use them please contact Samaritans Wales office for more information.

Find out more about Samaritans' work in Wales