Mental Health and Debt: Mental Health Workers & Others Feedback Needed

in Debt-Free Wannabe
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MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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Mental Health Workers & Others

We're are in the midst of producing a free guide to dealing with debt and mental health. The problem is vast, a disproportionate number of those with mental health problems are in debt. A disproportionate number of this in debt crisis have mental health problems.

The guide is to be written to help and provide guidance for the individuals themselves and families and carers.

What help is needed.

We're already working with mental health charities, yet I wanted some on the ground feedback to go towards this important guide. So if you've any tips, feedback, way you operate, and nice anecdotes that explain the situation. That would really help us produce and easy read.

This can be both mental health caseworkers or others with experience of the problems.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Specific ISsues

I'd welcome thoughts on these.

How do you protect someone with mental health issues from debt and overspending during problem periods, without disenfranchising them from legitimate borrowing?

How do you deal with debts when the person invovled doesn't want to deal with them?



Please CLICK REPLY to add to this.

Martin

PS. Read the latest blog on the progress of the guide .
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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Replies

  • fermifermi Forumite
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    I'm going to sticky this temporarily so it stays on the front page for today.
    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

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  • AmesAmes Forumite
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    I got in debt when I was depressed. Taking out the loan that crippled me financially was at the same time as my first overdose. I wasn't planning on being around long enough to have to pay back the loan, but obviously I was! I think some responsibility has to go to the loan company though (egg). They knew I was on benefits, and later told me that I shouldn't have been approved for the loan as I wasn't working. So why did someone click yes to my application?

    Most of the loan went on rent and things as my housing benefit took a year to be processed. Some of it however went on buying things, like new clothes etc, to cheer myself up.

    When I hit trouble and couldn't afford to pay everything any more, I called CCCS. They took my DLA into account as income and left me nothing for my care needs. According to MIND this was wrong. CAB did take them into account, but advised bankruptcy. I didn't want to do that so I've muddled along making token payments and paying things off when I'm able. It'll take a long time but I'm sure I'll get there.

    Now my worry is what'll happen when my credit rating improves (even though that's a long way off). I don't want to be able to go out and do the same thing again if I have an episode.

    Just in case it matters, my mental health problems are either bipolar, or borderline personality disorder or affective disorder, depending on which psychiatrist you speak to. I find that bipolar fits my perception of my illness best.

    I hope that helps, if there's anything more I can do then just ask!
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
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    With this, if people do have a mental health problem, it is important that the creditor is made aware of the situation as soon as possible too, we used to show leniency when we were made aware of similar situations. We also tried to obtain details of someone we could contact (assuming the person with the debt has given permission to speak with them) in case there were any problems with payments etc.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • Hi

    just wanted to say I have suffered from depression for over 20 years. It does go hand in hand with debt, along with being unable to sort things out or looking for a quick fix to make you feel better about yourself.

    I come on the boards most days, so if anyone wants to chat, I'm here.

    best wishes
    Charlotte
    Toughest form of moutain climbing is climbing out of a rut
    I WILL be debt free!
    I WILL be happy!
    red pen member 4
  • What a good idea.

    I've suffered from depression for years, and we've just started a dmp and I'm already getting stressed out by the letters and phonecalls we've been receiving.

    After reading the above I think I'm going to write to the creditors to let them know that I'm suffering from depression.
    DMP started Jan 09 £55,509.29 :eek: current balance is £21,482.49p:(
  • Hi - I'm a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and work within a busy CMHT (Community Mental Health Team.) We see people with a wide range of illnesses and disorders, and debt/financial issues are VERY common!!! We were very lucky to have a CAB worker attached to the CMHT, who would do full benefit checks, assist with filling in claim forms, advise on debt issues etc. Unfortunately, althought she was ALWAYS busy, the council has withdrawn the funding for ALL Mental Health CAB workers since last week:confused: - seems bizarre to all of us, especially in today's financial situation!!

    Debt problems can be contributory to mental health problems eg depression. However, they can also occur as a result of the disorder eg Bi-Polar disorder, which can cause people to go high and spend EXCESSIVELY!!! Once people are well again, they are than left with the debt. On occasions and where appropriate (ie when we know that the debt is definately as a result of a manic episode) the Psychiatrist can write to ask for the person's mental health to be considered and I have known debts to be written off eg when someone bought a car whilst high. However, this is not something that happens very often!!!

    When we assess people, we do ask about financial issues - and do try to refer to appropriate people/services eg CAB for advice. However, I'd like to reiterate that having a mental health problem does NOT (on the whole) mean there are any easier routes out of it - hopefully we are able to give people the appropriate advice and support to access help!!

    Any other questions, I'll help if poss x
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  • coolcaitcoolcait Forumite
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    Hiya

    I'm glad south coast posted the link to the work which the money advice trust have done on this issue. There's a good chance that MSE are already aware of it, but I think it's well worth 'spreading the word' about it.

    From a purely personal point of view, my own experience of depression and debt was that I missed payments which I could have made - if I hadn't been suffering from depression. One of the ways that depression affected me was that everything became 'too difficult'. Part of me 'knew' that the payment had to be made; part of me was screaming at myself to do it. But - as with so many other things at that time - I simply couldn't get myself out of my own way and actually do it.

    That was with (to be self-deprecating) 'bog-standard depression'. The type of depression that a huge percentage of the population suffer. Not bipolar. Just ('just'!! :rolleyes: ) the type of depression that leaves you feeling you've lost every part of yourself that made you *you*; makes you feel detatched from yourself, so that it's almost like being outside yourself, watching 'you' do things (or not do things); makes even 'simple' things seem impossible, so you just listlessly let them go...

    'Normal' depression. And, IMO and IME, it can be very difficult to convince the people around you that there's more to it than just being a miserable, lazy cow. Heck, it can be difficult to convince yourself! So, the chances of convincing a creditor are much less than the chances of the cliched snowball in hell.

    If it's possible, I'd like to see that kind of mental health issue covered in relation to the effect it has on how people cope with managing debt, or staying out of debt.

    Rant over, I'd like to say thanks to Martin and MSE for the idea of this guide and - even more so - for actually doing something about it. :T :T
  • JDPowerJDPower Forumite
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    Hi

    just wanted to say I have suffered from depression for over 20 years. It does go hand in hand with debt, along with being unable to sort things out or looking for a quick fix to make you feel better about yourself.
    I would say thats been exactly my experience. As well as the 'can't be bothered dealing with it' element, I found myself quite often spending money I couldn't afford in a vain attempt to gain some degree of happiness.
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    I am indeed aware of the MALG guidance... I spoke at MALG the meeting before it was launched and read it on launch day :)

    Any info, guidance, what to dos from mental health caseworkers would be great (this is going in my email this week)
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
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