'Mental Health and Debt: True Bravery' blog discussion

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  • Claire_DCClaire_DC Forumite
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    I think that it's about time this issue was brought into the spotlight really as more people need to be made aware of how people with mental health problems suffer with debt problems. I think half the problem is that mental health problems still have a bit of a taboo surrounding them, so it's a long battle ahead but one i hope will be won as it's important for people to understand the situation.

    I myself have suffered with depression, hyper-vigilance and anxiety for about 9 years, and am also suffering with debt problems too. The depression on its own is bad enough, but then to add in the worry/stress about financial problems and having to try and keep track (unsuccessfully) of what needs dealing with etc just makes things 100% more difficult.

    You get no leeway from the people chasing you for money, and have to suffer even further with their staff being rude and unhelpful without a thought to how you are feeling or coping. I have come off the phone in tears too many times to mention because of the stress of the calls being made. I do my best, and it's not good enough for them.

    I'm not asking for these people to feel sorry for me, but i just wish they could be a bit more understanding and considerate of my situation and actually look at the positives in that they can see i am trying to pay my debt off, however long it will take, but they don't.. they just push and push for money i don't have to the point where i'm getting myself into more debt to manage my other debt payments. It's a vicious circle and i don't see myself getting out of it.

    I also can't see me being able to focus on getting better whilst i'm enduring the problems with money that i have as only a certain amount of 'fight', energy and motivation available to me because of this illness and if it's all being taken up with other problems then i have nothing left to try and battle the depression.

    Anyway this post has gone away from the main point that i was trying to make and if i don't stop now, i will go on for pages so i would just like to say thank you to Martin, MSE and Mind for trying to push this important subject into the public eye a bit more.


    (Sorry again for the long winded post) x
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  • purple12purple12 Forumite
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    There's a useful pdf that I've found very handy helping people to help people with mental illness to manage debts at http://www.mhdebt.info/ . Unfortunately, it isn't very well known among mental health professionals (at least the ones I spoken to!).
    Hopefully, the information will be distributed to Community Mental Health Teams and through Carers groups as I think sometimes, these issues are most crucial during a period of illness where the people around and supporting the patient have a need to know and be aware of what they can do to help.
  • I too have suffered from clinical depression for most of my adult life (I am now 36) and have had, and still continue to have, problems with money mangement as a result. As one of the previous commentors mentioned, when you are in the full grip of depression it is hard to get out of bed, leave the house, or think straight, let alone keep an eye on what is happening with your finances. I also have a fear of using the telephone which can be disabling, especially when I have things to sort out. In 2000 after a period of being unable to work, and on the advice of the Citizens Advice Bureau, I declared myself bankrupt; just to stop the constant calls and letters chasing me for payment. It is not a pleasant situation to be in and only served to add to my feelings of failure and guilt.

    Now life is a little better, however, I am acutely aware how vulnerable I am. When I am feeling low I have a tendency to spend money to 'cheer myself up' plus I have times when I am unable to work, which of course puts a strain on my finances. The result is more months of misery and worry.

    I am currently writing a book about some of the 'hidden' aspects of depression - one of which is the link between depression and debt. I am keen to hear from anyone who would like to contribute their story (bad or good) about money and depression. I am aware that people with other mental health problems may want to have their say, however for the purposes of the book I am concentrating purely on long-term clinical depression and its associated issues. If you would like to contribute please contact me via email: [EMAIL="depression.book@googlemail.com"][email protected][/EMAIL]. Your details will remain confidential.

    I would like to end on a positive note and thank Martin for all the work he has done in helping people like me. I can not remember when I signed up for the emails, however for the last four or five years his information has helped keep me on track (though not always in the red!). I am pleased that someone with his public profile is highlighting an issue which for a long time has remained hidden.
  • sly_2sly_2 Forumite
    3 Posts
    I just wanted to thank Martin for his support in this important area of mental health.I suffer with clinical depression and on my last bout i 'discovered' retail therapy and quickly got myself into £35000 debt and had little to show for it. I remember walking out the door of shops and thinking "what have i done" I thought i needed the items to make me happy and they did for maybe a minute and then i needed more.I would go to the same shops daily to buy items and i knew the assistants thought i was strange but i needed that feeling of happiness. Only through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and through selling my house i am now debt free and now get my buzz from seeing the money i save with the help of MSE.Once again i thank you Martin and all the unsung heroes in Mental Health Care.:T
  • bunky_2bunky_2 Forumite
    6 Posts
    I empathise with the previous writers. I too have suffered with depression of varying degrees throughout my life, ultimately meaning I havnt worked for the last five years. I am now 40 and have had to move back in with my parents as there is no way I can afford to live on my own or support myself on the incapacity benefit I receive. I have also been through several CBT courses and the drugs I take combined have me on an even keel. I now feel in a position where I would like to return to some form of work, although not the highly paid sales jobs I used to do as I cannot cope with the pressure. Thats where my problems start.
    I live in kent, whilst my son 10 and daughter 8 live in Yorkshire with my Ex-wife. I used to drive up to see them every fortnight and stay in a cheap hotel with them. But now with the massive rises in petrol costs, hotels, food and entertainment I have had to reduce our contact to once a month.
    Out of my benefit the CSA take £20 a month towards the cost of my children, although my ex wife doesnt recieve this as it goes back to the government to count, pound for pound, against the working family tax credit she gets.
    So, if I go back to work in a much lesser paid job than I used to have, which I will have to, by the time the CSA reasseses me, I pay the usual tax and NI and start paying for the 8 prescription charges Im on I will no longer have the money to visit my children at all.
    The one thing that has kept me from committing suicide through all this.

    At the end of the day Im better off staying at home watching Jerramy Kyle and sponging off my retired parents than I am trying to go back to work, much as Id like to, to pay off my maxed out credit cards and exceeded overdraught.

    At least that way I get to see my children. Not much of a role model though is it ?
  • sly_2sly_2 Forumite
    3 Posts
    bunky wrote: »
    I empathise with the previous writers. I too have suffered with depression of varying degrees throughout my life, ultimately meaning I havnt worked for the last five years. I am now 40 and have had to move back in with my parents as there is no way I can afford to live on my own or support myself on the incapacity benefit I receive. I have also been through several CBT courses and the drugs I take combined have me on an even keel. I now feel in a position where I would like to return to some form of work, although not the highly paid sales jobs I used to do as I cannot cope with the pressure. Thats where my problems start.
    I live in kent, whilst my son 10 and daughter 8 live in Yorkshire with my Ex-wife. I used to drive up to see them every fortnight and stay in a cheap hotel with them. But now with the massive rises in petrol costs, hotels, food and entertainment I have had to reduce our contact to once a month.
    Out of my benefit the CSA take £20 a month towards the cost of my children, although my ex wife doesnt recieve this as it goes back to the government to count, pound for pound, against the working family tax credit she gets.
    So, if I go back to work in a much lesser paid job than I used to have, which I will have to, by the time the CSA reasseses me, I pay the usual tax and NI and start paying for the 8 prescription charges Im on I will no longer have the money to visit my children at all.
    The one thing that has kept me from committing suicide through all this.

    At the end of the day Im better off staying at home watching Jerramy Kyle and sponging off my retired parents than I am trying to go back to work, much as Id like to, to pay off my maxed out credit cards and exceeded overdraught.

    At least that way I get to see my children. Not much of a role model though is it ?
    Bunky,not much of a role model?

    So after all you have been through and are still going through you still get up every day because you want to see your children and although you suffer with an illness you still want to get a job so you can give your family and yourself a better life.
    Bunky you inspire me,thats the greatest role model of all and totally selfless.
    Remember it's not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get back up again,sorry its corny but it's true.
  • fabwitch_2fabwitch_2 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Just in case anyone who suffers with Mental Health Problems isnt aware you can claim DLA. Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance which can help you financially. http://www.disabilityalliance.org/f2.htm

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DisabilityLivingAllowance/index.htm

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  • This all rings so many bells for me, I'm called Richard Alan Cowling and I'm the founder of a non-profit, asset locked, limited liability Community Interest Company called MESOMOCO CIC ... which in part is motivated by my experiences of suffering, from carer stress, then job loss stress, then depression, then debt stress, ...to see my account of what happened to me ... and also in honour of Mind Debt week ... read my blog in the news section of MESOMOCO CIC's website at http://www.mesomoco.org.uk/news/archives/14 ... it was a very hard time ... we lost our house, our home ... and went with out food ... and suffered telephone bullying from debt collectors ... it was a living nightmare an a massive contributing factor towards a major nervous breakdown ... but, the blows were all cushioned by the Witney Mind drop in centre, called 'Outlook' where staff advised us on form filling and even fed us!

    We owe Mind a huge debt of gratitude ... they inspired me to start MESOMOCO CIC a mental health social enterprise, with a special interest in mental distress sufferer employment.

    Warm regards,
    Richard
  • bunky_2bunky_2 Forumite
    6 Posts
    Thankyou Sly for your kind remarks.

    I did actually apply for DLA, with the help of a Doctor, but was rejected.
    Presumably because depression is not classed as a permenant disability.
  • LadyMorticiaLadyMorticia Forumite
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    bunky wrote: »
    Thankyou Sly for your kind remarks.

    I did actually apply for DLA, with the help of a Doctor, but was rejected.
    Presumably because depression is not classed as a permenant disability.

    Did you appeal against the decision? I know a few people who have been awarded DLA because of their depression.

    xx
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