Posted: 13 December 2017

Life Events: How any family can fall into debt

Unexpected life events – like bereavement, cancer or mental illness – can lead families to fall into a spiral of problem debt from which it can be difficult to recover:

‘I am paying the price for being in the relationship…paying off debt, trying to repair a damaged credit score and unable to move on.’ Lara

Produced in collaboration with almost 20 organisations, our new report explores the impact various Life Events have had on real people’s lives. It tells the stories of real people who have fallen into debt and struggled to make ends meet.

Ian’s depression makes opening his post very difficult: 'I'd pick up a letter and feel sick.' Ian



These unexpected changes in circumstances impact people’s income and can make it impossible for them to keep up with debt repayments in the short term.

Children’s mental health is suffering because of serious family debt

 There are around 2.4 million children in England and Wales living in families in problem debt. Children living in low-income households and in families with multiple debt types are at greater risk of experiencing mental health problems than other children. 

That’s why we have been campaigning for a ‘breathing space’ – a scheme to give families in serious financial difficulty time and space to repay their debts, without raising fees or visits from intimidating bailiffs:

'I was left facing life without Lucy – the bedrock of our family – and I just felt so trapped.’ Simon

Thanks to the tireless support of our campaigners, the Government has committed to a new breathing space scheme to help people in serious debt - but we must make it work for struggling families. 

The proposal for a breathing space scheme is now open to public feedback. This is our crucial chance to make sure the breathing space scheme will be good enough to help struggling families get back on their feet. 

Please take action today to give children and families the breathing space they need. 




By Nicole Fassihi - Campaigns team

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