Free debt help available to help people with their concerns

Free debt help available to help people with their concerns

12 January 2022

A LOCAL charity is encouraging people to banish ‘Blue Monday’ woes by getting early debt advice.

Monday, January 17, is often labelled Blue Monday because of the arrival of Christmas credit card bills, broken New Year’s resolutions and gloomy weather.

Whether it deserves the title of most depressing day of the year is open to debate. What is indisputable, however, is that living with debt can negatively affect our emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Christ Church Kilmore, part of the Kilmore and Inch Parish, in co-operation with many of the churches in Mid Down, has teamed up with the national charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to provide free debt help in Mid Down. 

Christ Church Kilmore became the primary church partner in 2022, taking over the mantle from Edengrove Presbyterian Church in Ballynahinch on Winston Shaw’s retirement as Debt Centre Manager.

Mid Down CAP Debt Centre manager Norman Gibson says: “January and February can be really challenging months for many people for a variety of reasons.

“For some the gloomy weather brings them down, but for others there’s a lot of financial pressure as well. With energy prices rising, credit card bills coming through the letter box and the cost of essentials like food continuing to go up, it’s a really difficult time for many in our area.

“Financial problems can feel overwhelming, especially if you are facing a number of bills after Christmas, and if you are already under pressure or feeling the strain in other ways. We want to let people know that free help is available. We would ask anyone feeling under pressure to not delay, but to make the call as soon as possible. We can deal with it together.”

Mr Gibson said poverty and debt can affect so many aspects of people’s lives, such as their health, relationships and children, but it can be particularly hard on their mental health.

“Over three-quarters (76%) of CAP clients report having sleepless nights due to debt worries, with one in three (36%) having to visit their GP due to poor mental health,” he continued.

“If someone has previously suffered from poor mental health, living in debt can make this so much worse. About two in five (43%) clients report such a deterioration.

“We can provide help and hope. People can call us on our Freephone number, 0800 328 0006, to get in touch and to start to get help now. The team will put you in touch with a local person from one of the churches in Mid Down who will support you right through your journey.

“We want to encourage people to make the call so that, in 2022, they can start on the journey towards getting out of debt and, in doing this, improve their health and wellbeing.”

One former client, John, spoke about his poor mental health, which was one of the causes of him getting into debt.

“My debts arose because of a combination of lots of things that had gone wrong. I had to pack my job in due to mental illness and various other things. Living in debt was very bad. It was very hard. Mentally, it didn’t do me any good at all. It brought me quite down. It made me feel very depressed.

“Getting help from CAP, and then going debt free, made a big difference to my life. When you’ve got that pressure on you, it makes you feel very depressed. You don’t want anybody to find out so you try and keep everything to yourself. Now I don’t have to worry.”

For free debt help, call 0800 328 0006 or visit