Mental Health issues: should we stop people borrowing money?



  • fgaughan
    fgaughan Forumite Posts: 252 Forumite
    danihulo wrote:

    This is a woman who would not be allowed to serve on a jury, could not be named as an executor of a will or hold a trustee's position - clearly she is not as responsible as those of us who do not suffer from mental health issues.

    Non serving Jury as you now know can get loans
    Deaf people are not allowed to serve Jury
    So really its people who are in job should be allowed loans etc
    While I breathe.... I hope
  • jobbingmusician
    jobbingmusician Forumite Posts: 20,341
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Intrepid Forum Explorer
    There are 2 separate issues here: mental health and mental capacity. Those without mental capacity cannot manage their own affairs, and most people without mental capacity have this as an enduring problem, as in the case of Alzheimer's.

    Of course, having an episode of psychosis can remove mental capacity (usually temporarily). It is also shamefully true that people with mental health problems have a greater percentage of unemployment than any other disabled group. The mental health issue most related to serious bigtime debt, however, is bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). People in the 'up' phase of this disease feel invulnerable, have grandiose ideas and feel invincible. There are many many cases of such people spending their entire family's life savings, taking out loans for massive amounts and gambling them away or putting them into unrealistic business ideas, etc. There is often nothing the family can do about this.

    We need lenders to act responsibly (:rotfl: ) and introduce measures to protect people suffering from the effects of mania, and their families. People with bipolar disorders may be able to help themselves by setting advance directives so that responsibility for handling money passes to another family member when they are ill. It would need strict policing, however, as bi-polar people are often persuasive and seem cogent when they are at their (almost) illest...........:o
    I was a board guide here for many years, but have now resigned. Amicably, but I think it reflects very poorly on MSE that I have not even received an acknowledgement of my resignation! Poor show, MSE.

    This signature was changed on 6.4.22. This is an experiment to see if anyone from MSE picks up on this comment.
  • robnye
    robnye Forumite Posts: 5,411
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    it is strange how this subject actually touches so many familys.

    my eldest brother has been classed schizophrenic, since he was 19, some 30 years ago........ 3 years ago he was allowed to run up debts on credit cards, because the bank chose to ignore the fact of his mental illness and more importantly that his only income was from benefits.

    today he still gives away what he doesnt spend (on rubbish), or even gives the items he has bought away, but my mother now has joint control over the money and makes sure all bills are paid, whats left is up to him.......
    he is generous to a fault, but now only gives away cash..... not credit....

    i agree with martin, something should be done, but the civil liberties and human rights people would argue against it
    smile --- it makes people wonder what you are up to.... ;) :cool:
  • ksh123
    ksh123 Forumite Posts: 1,248
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I was really scared to read Marttin's blog about this - even tho I knew he wouldn't be judgemental. For the same reason I haven't read all the posts on the thread - but its a relief to see that most people are sympathetic even if they, like me, don't know a way round the problem.

    I was diagnosed with Bi-polar last March. This was after 20+ years of being in the Mental Health "system" during which time my original diagnosis of clinical depression was never re-assessed.

    The reason I got the new diagnosis? After 2 years on incapacity benefit following a major depressive episode I "suddenly" found myself with £40000 of debt. The mad thing was, and I use the word advisedly, I had no idea how I had got into that debt!With help from my Community Psychiatric Nurse I began to go through my cc statements and she quickly identified patterns of outrageous spending in chunks usually lasting between 8-12 weeks. Outside those times my spending was entirely normal - just the odd purchase here and there.

    Facing this new development in my illness and the terrible bullying tactics of the cc companies, my bank, and the debt collection agencies that have followed in their wake, has on more than one occasion pushed me to the very edge of my existence. And oh, the poverty! My daughter and I have known poverty before because of my being redundant or somesuch - but not like this and not with the added burden of the inescapable fact that I have done this to us.

    Registers whether voluntary or not, I don't think are the answer. But if banks and cc companies checked in with customers say, once a year, to ask the questions - are you still working? has your income changed? can you still support the debt you have? maybe they could alter their lending approach accordingly. Of course this would mean them treating customers as individuals, something which they are notoriously bad at. And it would cost them money but then, so do unpaid debts.

    Of course some customers would lie, there will always be those who have a less than honest approach to life. But most people I'm sure are basically honest. It seems so silly that a bank or cc company will take on a customer when they are earning a certain amount of money and then continue to treat that customer as though they are still bringing in the same amount of money years later.People like me, who are honest but perhaps in the grip of something they can't control would I think gladly tell the truth. These are only financial questions, not questions about our mental health, so no stigma should apply. It would give the opportunity for a mutual approach to financial mangement by company and client.
    Stop looking for answers....
    The most you can hope for are clues.....:)
  • rosepink
    rosepink Forumite Posts: 33
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I really can relate to this Blog as i used to run a Citizens Advice Bureau within an acute mental hospital. One thing that got me really angry was the insurance sold to people to cover illness etc which was then refused when a claim was made, because of a pre-existing condition on a persons medical record.

    It was also very revealing that as soon as I rang on behalf of a patient, and said I was from XXY Cab in a mental hospital, how the attitude of many creditors changed to being much more helpful and less aggressive. I often amangaged to get sums written off if there was no real chance of it being repaid. And of course we always did a full benefit check to maximise income.

    There is no easy answer but if the banks etc make it so easy for peopl to get credit then the situation will never go away. Many people find themselves in debt by no fault of their own - perhaps just because of an unexpected change in circumstances such as physical or mental illness or redundancy. I would always recommend thse trying to help someone with mental illness to use the free servcies of the CAB or similar .
  • peopleschoice
    peopleschoice Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    wildflower wrote:
    This is a heartbreaking and emotive topic.

    I have post traumatic stress disorder, a psychological injury resulting from childhood bullying and abuse at school 45 years ago when the word bullying barely existed. I suffer anxiety and grief and can be retraumatised back into my childhood self. It takes me 6 months minimum to recover each time but I refuse to live a boxed in life in the hope that it won't happen again. Like all people with mental/emotional issues I am still human and have good and bad periods and the right, in theory, to earn and spend money.

    I am so terrified of debt and poverty I've always counted pennies because I never know when I'll be retraumatised and unable to earn.

    There's a cheap and cunning way to feed the retail therapy animal: shopping by mail order or on line and then returning the goods within the time specified by the retailer. Depends whether you can afford the return postage. OK so it's a bit dicy 'cos you MUST return what you cannot afford and for some the concept itself would be hard to grapple with.

    Let's put a bit of perspective into this. If you have an emotional/mental health issue and can't work, you have lots and lots of hours and days and years to fill somehow. Going for a walk is great. Window shopping is great. Trying clothes on in the shop when you can't buy them because you live on the pittance you get on benefit is not good for your sanity or mental health and you don't have to be mentally ill to feel like crap about that. So much is beyond your reach for an endless list of reasons. Why shouldn't you have some fun like others do? You aren't any less human 'just' because you're mentally sick at the moment, despite what others think.

    What's the number given out? 1 in 4 people are suffering emotionally/mentally, this minute.

    Poverty and mental health issues are so often linked. Which is the cause and which the affect?

    So, I'm sorry but I object to the poster who likens the mentally/emotionally ill person to a drug addict. I hope you can see why. I'm not addicted to my illness. If there was any version of cold turkey available that would save me from being retraumatised I'd give all my savings to kick my 'addiction'!

    Mental/emotional illness is about struggle. I base that on my experience of theraputic groups and on my own life. Despite being well above average intelligence I have struggled, day by day and year by year to be a survivor of an illness that others foisted upon me as a child by their unremitting cruelty. It undermines how I think of myself, how I relate to others, where I work, who I work with, how high I can climb a career ladder, how much stress I can take, how much money I can earn, what I can disclose and what I must keep silent about. And yes, sometimes I spend when I shouldn't. What would you do in my position?

    What is really criminal (and needs looking at) isn't so much about loans but about culture. Mentally/emotionally ill people are treated with fear by many and stigmatised, often for life. If equal opportunities really existed and jobs were available or benefits livable on then debt would not be such an issue. But mental illness is stigmatised, despite the theoretical advances in the way impaired/disabled folk are treated. Even those laws are given more lip service in policy documents than in real life.

    As for the NHS itself, the 3 month rule from referral for psychological help to actually getting it just doesn't operate. Where I live, in London, a year is more like the waiting list for the fragile and vulnerable of mind/emotion. And that's a year to assessment for what kind of therapy might help, having jumped the hurdle to get to be seen by your community mental health crisis team. Another wait for talking treatment. That's a long time while you can't earn so might build up debt so on top of your illness you need to live like a pauper or get a CCJ for the council tax you can't pay because you had dinner instead. Talk about stress! Drugs you can have any time from your GP or psychiatrist but they don't cure anything - if you're unlucky you get turned into a zombie and a zombie has little control of their finances but they're safe from harming themselves or others. Our culture clearly prefers drugged zombies.

    My vote goes to taking a long hard look at the inherant poverty trap. And at the farce of treatment so that debt doesn't have to become another worry. You get more help if you have a heart attack.

    Well said.... I live in Cornwall and trying to get support is something that doesn't exist.

    I do have a mortgage and try to live a near "NORMAL" life but find it hard to become self indulgent, selfish and not give respect to every single person, like a lot of the self rightous we come across everyday in life.

    These are the people who really need help.

    Perhaps the right way to deal with this problem, is that NO-ONE, yes I mean NO-ONE is allowed to be able to go into debt more than ten times their income, this would include mortgages.

    I have spent way outside my income whilst I'm in a manic position. Whilst in hospital at one time, I paid off all the other patients debts, around £6,000. I don't regret doing that because it helped so many people. But that was just after I had a £20,000 redundancy payment.

    Unfortunatly there has been times when I have over spent and not had the money to furnish the debt. I have some very good friends and they have bailed me out and they watch if I start to overspend.

    As you say 25% of people suffer from some kind of emotional / mental health issue and 80% of all people will suffer from some kind of mental health issue sometime during their life.

    They say around 70% of prisons are full of mentally ill patients and around 60% of GP's time is taken up with peoples mental health issues. Yet if only money was spent in prevention how much could the Country save. At present mental health costs the Country £88 billion pounds every year, it costs business around £9 billion. So all those perfect people who condem those of us who has got problems...... your in the minority...... Support a proper mental health service for all.

    LOVE to you all.:A
  • Cumbrian_Male
    Cumbrian_Male Forumite Posts: 1,513
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    danihulo wrote:
    I recently posted a question about this topic under the Loans section (sister has severe bipolar disorder which triggers uncontrolled spending) She cannot and will not ever work, has no income other than disability benefits and yet her bank was prepared to lend her 30K+. She is currently in debt in excess of 23K.

    I believe that we do have a responsibility to the members of our society who suffer terribly through these kinds of illness, to try to protect them and their loved ones from further stress and trouble brought on by the incredible levels of debt they can incur which they would not have done had they been well.

    Interestingly the response to my post was 50% supportive but there was a large amount of "she spent it, so she is responsible for paying it back, no sympathy here". This is a woman who would not be allowed to serve on a jury, could not be named as an executor of a will or hold a trustee's position - clearly she is not as responsible as those of us who do not suffer from mental health issues.

    She would gladly register voluntarily to limit her ability to borrow money. Would this be allowed under EU law?

    You could try for a CIFAS protective registration or having a notice of correction at the CRA's to inform of her condition.
    I have a cunning plan!
    Proud to be dealing with my debts.

  • lesley2a
    lesley2a Forumite Posts: 11 Forumite
    I was very heartened to read the sympathy and good feeling towards sufferers from mental health problems. As your posters make clear, there are no simple answers and it's a huge, huge problem. I think the best suggestion was for the voluntary register - it's only a very partial solution, but would help some people.
    However, the real answers are the same two as for so many of our problems. One is - education, education, education. I have worked for a mental health charity, and you would - I hope - not believe the unpleasant, aggressive and ignorant attitude of many in, for example, benefits offices and banks, to mental health issues. And then there were just a few who were kindly and helpful. We must do far more in schools to explain these issues to children. And we can publicise the help that is available - too many sufferers don't know what is out there for them from CABs, unions, service user groups, advocates. The second answer is money. Close contact with an effective therapist/carer would go a long way to check wild spending: but this is just what most sufferers don't have. Mental health is always the Cinderella of the health services - there aren't many votes in it. We can all try to make clear that we support the necessary spending - after all, one in four of us will need it.
  • Chop
    Chop Forumite Posts: 50 Forumite
    I agree that it's heartening to read the warmth in these replies - I wish it was representative of the general population. Mental health IS the cinderella service of the NHS - nobody seems to care about it and yet more of us, our friends and familiy are likely to need the services of our local mental health Trust than we are of, say, our local A&E dept. Thanks to Martin for raising this as a concern, it definitely needs addressing.

    I do hope that the tide is slowly changing and that attitudes are adapting gradually and stigma reducing, particularly amongst young people.

    And that, I think is key to this whole debate around mental health and finance. Stigma. If there was a way that people could be open and honest about their mental wellbeing, and consequently their financial overspends/urges, then it would be easier for people to discuss any financial problems they are in as a result of their mental health problems. It may also encourage people to seek help and advice sooner - for both their finances and their mental ill health.

    I agree that something needs to be done to limit the very real probems that people have already described in this thread. I'm just not sure there would be a hard and fast rule that wouldn't just add to the stigma - in the same way that many insurance firms won't insure people with diagnosed mental health problems.........would it just drive it further underground and reinforce the stigma? This is certainly a very grey area and a tricky balance to get right.
  • Charis
    Charis Forumite Posts: 1,302
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I am a volunteer with adults with Basic Skills deficits. Very few of the students I work with are capable of understanding percentages, APR, AER et al. I would venture to suggest that fully 20% of the adult population would not understand how quickly a debt accrues interest.
    The problem is pure and simple. Money lenders are taking advantage of the gullibility of folk who have no means to pay their debts and little understanding of what is being done to them. They are simply taking advantage of our consumer culture, evangelised by advertising, which suggests that 'things' will make you happy, sexy, better than you are now. Of course if that were true there would be no unhappy film stars and the rich would be happily paired off and content with their lives.
    Just when did it become acceptable to con the gullible into taking out loans/credit which it is obvious they do not have the means to repay? Where is the government action on this well-known trickery?
    PS Heard Martin on Radio 2 this afternoon in the car. Love the way he got his point across about the building society which is supposedly prepared to lend 5 x joint salaries to finance a mortgage.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 338.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 248.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 447.5K Spending & Discounts
  • 230.7K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 600.7K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171K Life & Family
  • 243.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards