Concerns have been raised about the number of cash-strapped families who lack help to deal with their debts due to a “misplaced sense of shame”.
Advice Direct Scotland campaigners say soaring costs of living over the past year – driven by inflation and rising energy prices – have affected ‘virtually every household’ in the region.
The charity added that a ‘tidal wave’ of people had to seek help with money worries, but those in households who had never needed help before now seem more reluctant to accept it because of “debt-related stigma and shame”.
Conor Forbes, Head of Business Development and Policy at Advice Direct Scotland, said: “We know that the current cost of living crisis, driven by rising energy bills and inflation, is having a negative impact on household finances, pushing many people into debt.
“However, the stigma and shame associated with debt are major barriers to getting a resolution and we know people are reluctant to seek help or advice because of this.
“We want to emphasize that there is no shame in someone who wants to improve their situation – and no one should have to struggle alone with money problems.”
The charity added that in talking to food bank officials, it has established that there is a “pervasive sense of debt-shame”.
“Many perceive seeking debt advice as a personal failure, potentially affecting their reputation and standing in society,” a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the results of a survey of single parents carried out by another charity to establish the extent of debt problems have been described as ‘incredibly frightening’.
Marion Davis, from One Parent Families Scotland, said: ‘I think there is going to be a tsunami of debt and we already have a huge debt crisis.
Assistance from Advice Direct Scotland is free and, on request, anonymous.
To find out more about the types of help available, visit moneyadvice.scot or energyadvice.scot.