Samaritans reveal scale of financial worries

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, ), which reveals that 60 per cent of people in the South East fear they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in the coming year.

Over a third of people (35 per cent) are concerned about losing their job or having difficulty finding work.

The YouGov poll shows the top five worries of people in the South East over the last year are:

l Money/bank balance/debt – 45%

l Problems/issues with family and friends – 35%

l Physical health issues – 34%

l Domestic politics/current Government – 28%

l World affairs – 28%

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 for the South East are:

l 23 per cent of people considered 2011 a bad year or their worst year ever, compared with 31 per cent in 2010.

l People in the South East are the most worried that they’ll suffer directly from cuts in spending on public services.

l 33 per cent of people in the South East are hopeful that their financial situation will improve in the next year.

l People said small acts of kindness, such as someone giving them a hug (59%), smiling at them (51%), giving them a compliment (47%), having time to chat (44%) and listening to them (43%) , helped brighten their day.

l 25 per cent of people said they won’t have any New Year’s resolutions for 2012, but the top three resolutions included losing weight (30%), starting to get more exercise (29%) and saving money (22%).