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

in Debt-Free Wannabe
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  • I am a Community Mental Health Nurse and work for a NHS Trust.

    I think debt is a major problem for a lot of people and especially people who have mental health problems as they often experience unemployment.

    I think it is helpful to make sure you claim all benefits you are entitled to. The CAB can help with this and Mind employ benefit advice workers.

    The job centre have Disability Employment Advisers who can help with advice on developing work skills and access to work.

    A lot of people seem to be paying for payment protection insurance which doesn't pay out for mental health despite the fact they have a history of mental illness. This is costly and often useless.
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  • I reckon that with unemployment set to rise, we are likely to see a huge rise in this. I understand suicide is much higher among the unemployed. I think it would be helpful for some financial guidelines to be drawn up, and for them to be a required part of the redundancy process for employers. This is particularly relevant for higher paid people, because they are likely to be thrown completely out of their depth, and the government financial assistance will appear to be such a mismatch as to be virtually irrelevant. Ok - so the green eyes amongst us may feel it's about time. However, such people are in real trouble when they have £2-3k per month mortgage payments to make, and £400 per month income support (perhaps) available to them. In the current climate, downsizing is not something you can do in a hurry. No doubt this was the situation the chap who burnt his house down, along with wife and teenage daughter found himself in. Extreme, obviously, but there are a whole ranch of people who won't have any coping mechanism for the situation they find themselves in - and assistance is not readily available.
  • I want to approach this from the perspective of avoiding rather than dealing with debt.
    There is a programme called the wellness and recovery action plan (WRAP),
    which helps a person with mental health problems make a toolkit of things to keep them well and aid their recovery when they have been unwell. Part of this is recognising triggers or warning signs and pre-planning action to take when becoming unwell.
    Success does depend on the strength of a persons support network, but a person will make an agreement, when well, that , for example, they will give their credit card to their partner/parent when they are becoming unwell. By planning when well, a person can put limitations on the damage they inflict while unwell.

    Mental health support worker.
  • Im so happy to have found this. Im Bipolar diagnosed in 2000 and im £50,000 in debt. I cut up all my credit cards and haven't borrowed since 2005 when I had to leave my career due to the condition. Still however this millstone hangs around my neck. I went to the CAB last year who were helpful as far as it goes, but I literally need someone to help me who knows what they are doing. I'd love to go bankrupt but I can't afford it as on benefits. I hate it, and it never stops.
  • Some real good idea's being suggested. I work in the area of Mental Health and Mental Illness and have found that a cognitive behavioural approach to be effective for a lot of people. This approach doesnt involve the taking of medication as many people chose not to. It can be done alone with the aid of a book, on line or face to face with the support of another person. So can fit around each persons individual needs. The principals of the approach to help a person recongise the unhelpfull thoughts that result in the difficult emotions. This is a skill, like any other such as learning to speak a different language or ride a bike.... all trick at the begining, difficult to explaine, but once tried and practiced can be learned and put in to place on a daily basis.

    I am aware that the government has put a lot of investment in place to train people to deliver this as a face to face therapy, however the other methods as I mentioned can be also be useful. One of the books I would suggest is Mind over Mood but there are many others. Advice about this type of approach can be sought from GP's or NHS direct.
  • JDPowerJDPower Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    vodkafrog wrote: »
    Advice about this type of approach can be sought from GP's or NHS direct.
    Indeed, most GPs can now offer offer a computerised cognitive behavioural therapy package on the NHS (I know as I'm just going down that route myself, along with other CBT treatment)

    And while we're on the subject of self help (sorry if it's OT but may help someone), my CBT therapist strongly recommended a particular CD - Learn How To Think Positively by Glenn Harrold. This is available on Amazon or and there are several other self help titles by him but I was recommended that particular one for my depression (and was told it would need to be listened to once or twice a day, EVERY day to be effective)
  • Whilst I agree debt can exacerbate depression and vice versa I think it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be 'nice' and creating a moral hazard. (I consider the spending in relation to mania and psychosis a seperate issue).
    I have two particular issues whilst being broadly against the focus on consumption in society and these are:
    Somebody has to pay for the debts at the end of the day - other customers
    There is a risk that people with mental health problems will end up being discriminated against unnecessarily when it comes to getting credit.
    Hopefully not too harsh a message, Niall.
  • Royal British Legion, Combat Stress and Help for Hero's should be consulted in your study. My personal knowledge is the many self-harm issues that military personel can inflict on themselves or, and on others - one is money debt issues as a means of self harm for the guilt felt by clients.
  • bathgatebuyerbathgatebuyer Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    I would also add that on a practical level, a lot of insurance policies exclude mental illnesses from their policies leaving already vulnerable people exposed in times of financial trouble.
    Almost debt-free, but certainly even with the Banks!
  • ShemonsterShemonster Forumite
    4 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I feel very sad to see that some people get into massive debt through illness. My mother is bipolar and she's bought cars and all sorts over the years, but she's always paid back the debts somehow. My family have often intervened and got refunds on the basis that she's blatantly ill and anyone who takes money from her in that state should be ashamed of themselves. People who can easily be taken advantage of need to be protected somehow.

    I have mental health difficulties myself and have been in debt with credit cards and it used to really affect me, but when my flat got to the point where I couldn't move I realised I don't need to keep buying shoes and makeup and 2 for 1 shampoo! For the first time ever I'm really cutting down on emotional spending and have not gone overdrawn for months now! The sheer worry of going overdrawn and having to go and sit in the bank persuading them to give me the charges back led me to stop and sort myself out.
    Some people are too stressed or have much more complex things going on in their lives to have that insight and I fully understand that.
    Somehow we need to get people to understand that mental health and debt do tie in together as both are a cause or symptom and people need more support and if they have it, they need to know where that support is.
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