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

in Debt-Free Wannabe
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  • Good to see you are taking an interest in this subject. As a mother/carer of a son who became mentally unwell after returning to Uni to complete his degree as a mature student whilst funding was still available, I am only too aware of the pressures debt can cause. It can become both a cause and a result of mental illness and there appears to be very little help for carers who are trying to sort out a mentally ill persons finances. Most institutions, including benefits agencies, will only deal directly with the unwell person if they ask for help. My son's illness was such that he was unwilling to claim any benefits even though he was due them and this placed an unbearable strain on us as a family trying to care for him. There is also the Data Protection Act which means institutions such as banks and even Student Services will not talk to you as a carer. The only way I was able to deal with this was to write informing them of the situation and hope they would take my word. Four years on, my son has had intensive CBT and will always be on medication but is now working and continuing to pay his debts off!
  • My partner (a social worker) and I (an occupational therapist) working in mental health discussed this and think some really good suggestions have been posted.

    One point that hasn't been mentioned is that there are some people who through low mood and self neglect have not been spending money that have built up over many years (eg from benefits). They then suddenly find themselves in a situation where there have savings which put them over various benefits thresholds and loose benefits - or even get accused of fraud. People may think that's all well and good but it means that they then have to attempt the difficult process of reapplying. It also suggests that they may not have been receiving adequate support to encourage them to spend their income on adequately meeting their needs.
  • Jeez, I thought it was just me.
    I suffer from depression and severe panic attacks.
    This has been going on since 2001.
    I owe about £15,000 to 2 credit card companies.
    The CAB have negotiated reduced payments for me, for which I am very grateful.
    The first card is Capital One, who have kindly frozen the interest, therefore the balance is gradually coming down. I am paying £31.91 per month.
    The second card is EGG. They refused to freeze the interest
    I am paying them £42.55 per month.
    The interest on the EGG account is about £60 per month.
    It is obvious that I a going deeper into debt by about £18 per month on the EGG account.
    I have no idea how to remedy this.
    I am currently claiming incapacity benefit and disability living allowance.
    I receive £222.30 fortnightly.
    This leaves me very little to spare.
    I wish that this would all go away.
    I am sure that the money worries are exacerbating my condition.
    I worked for 27 years as a shift chemical production supervisor.
    I was made redundant in 2001, as the plant was decommissioned.
    I used my redundancy payment to settle the mortgage on my home.
    I now feel that I have been 'tossed aside' by the system.
    I can't even go for a haircut, I shave my head every 6 months or so.
    I haven't seen a dentist in over 7 years even though I have had terrible toothache during this time.
    I have resorted to pulling out any offending teeth with a pair of pliers without any anaesthetic, just a bottle of whisky.
    Suicide is ever present in my mind, as I feel that I have no-one to turn to.
    I see no way out of my dilemma.
  • savingholmessavingholmes Forumite
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    Hi Neil - that was a very brave post. If you are on benefits - surely the dentist fees would be covered under the nhs? Also if you need help and support have you contacted any of the charities like MIND or asked your doctor to refer you for urgent counselling or asked what other support is available in your area. There will be some.

    I paid for a year's worth of counselling at 1 point. Later in my life when depression re-occurred I also received 6 CBT sessions via my doctor's surgery. It is always worth asking what there is out there. I know the first time I went to the doctor and tried to get out how bad I was feeling - it just didn't come across. They call it the "smiling depression" when you put up such a good front that noone knows. I had to tell him that I felt like sitting in the corner, curled up and hidden away and that altho I wouldn't go thro with it that I felt like self-harming in order to get the attention I needed - before I was taken seriously... and received any treatment...

    I'm just grateful my partner stuck by me and that between us we kept putting one foot in front of another until things improved...
    Target 1) Clear CC debt - SUCCESS 13/4/22 Target 2) Lose weight & get fit 3) Write regularly 3811342714/70000 words Book 2 4) Develop passive income streams 5) Get to £3K EF 6) Declutter 7) MFW starting at £201999 Nov 21 with 264 258 payments to go. Now £198132. 8) Mortgage neutral progress (via private pension starting value c£3643 Nov 21) extra payments £312 including tax relief
  • I work for an organisation based in Fife, Scotland that provides services for the homeless or those at risk of.
    We provide financial advice on debt management or where to access help. We are free to the Client but are usually referred via Supporting People.
    Many of our clients have or have experienced mental health problems.
    People can self refer to a Floating Support worker, who then consults with the Team Leader and an initial visit will be made to identify areas of need.
    Our support to the client can be as little as 1-2 hours weekly and we can engage with them for a maximum of 2 years.
    If this sounds like it might be of interest, let me know.
    We only operate within Fife, Scotland as we are funded specifically for that region but there are other agencies with a similair remit.
    I have little idea of Nationwide services of this kind.
  • i have been a support worker for a debt reduction charity and was assigned a case where the client was very lonely and also seemed to have some form of number dslexia (not sure if this was real or just avoidance tbh).

    This meant unfortunately client overspends in the area of hobbies. Client would choose to take up a new 'thing' in hope of being less lonely. Wanted to fill life with stuff.

    In order to help client, a budget was prepared where they passed a lot of control over to the agency. This did lead to a bit of confusion but over time this diminished. Client now has a smaller amount to budget. Does well with this in terms of food budget but still cannot manage to cope with dates and timings of bills.

    When we went to bank to discuss client wanted to pay overdraft back, they said it wasnt a problem, they should borrow more as the majority of clients live in overdraft. As client viewed this person as professional, they would have taken his advice if we were not there.

    It worries me that professionals tout money to those who do not understand how to work with figures.

    I think it is very important that people are empowered and encouraged to handle their own finances, even when they have issues but that they can be supported and where necessary are able to have others act on their behalf (although care must be taken to avoid abuse).

    As a support worker I often felt the line between helping people and having to take control to ensure debts were paid was crossed. Often clients would want this line to be crossed but it is not something I could or should do in the capacity of the relationship. I think it is very important that there are people around who can support. The work of many of the debt charities out there are invaluable but it is not enough. The person is not being supported or encourage nor is the reason for the debt examined. Without this, many people will not address behaviour nor be able to get out of debt as a long term lifestyle choice.
    DFW 228 LONG H 68
    DFD 2017 :eek:
  • Hi there
    Where, oh where do I start?! Reading this thread (started last night & finished it this morning) has been such a revelation to me... so many things ring true... and to be frank, has brought tears of relief. I thought that it was just me... all my fault etc that I spent money to try & make me feel better and to give to myself the things that I didn't have as a child (got comfort from many postings about this issue). My folks were really hard up, both worked full time and I found it difficult in all sorts of ways. I wanted the love & affection of my parents being around, as well as the material things that I perceived my friends to have. That sounds awful and self-centered, doesn't it? I am being very brave in this posting (my first on this fabulous forum - it's helped me so much - thank you Martin).
    I have suffered with depression for many, many years and have had some bad episodes, particularly after the births of both my children... my doctor has handed out medication like sweeties... and I now find myself going through hell to come off them... I can't work (off sick and feel under pressure to go back before I'm really better) and find it hard to cope with my beautiful children. This then causes me to feel guilty and a vicious cycle starts again. Without my lovely husband, I really don't know what I would do.
    I really do wish that I had heard about spending/depression link years ago... my DH & I have entered into a PTD (Scottish equivalent of IVA) and this is teaching me many lessons on my spending... particularly at this difficult, and frankly, materialistic time of year. I sat with my son yesterday, explaining the true meaning of Christmas to him and I don't know how I kept it together... but that is what I want to get back to - what family and Christmas is all about - the birth of a special baby and enjoying family time... I do acknowledge that it can be extremely stressful too!!!
    However, what I would say to others is that there is light at the end of the tunnel... to quote Christopher Robin: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ... isn't that just true of anyone with low self esteem and depression? I am trying to live for the good days... on the bad, I just want to curl up in a darkened room and never see the light of day again...Please, please to all those credit card and loan companies, be responsible in your lendings... it is all far, far too easy...And sorry for rambling on... but a huge thank you to all those brave people out there who have bared there souls for this thread...
  • Hi there,

    Thought I'd tell you about my story....

    I was 19 when I had my first major depressive episode, whilst working for the NHS. I was on statutory sick pay for a few months, which didn't help my financial problems, and I decided that I had to go back to work as I was behind with my rent and bills, far too early. I was greeted back at work with a 'pull yourself together' lecture from my boss, which made everything ten times worse, and couldn't face going back, so left my job. Meanwhile the bank kept extending me credit, so I got up to my eyeballs in debt, and when that dried up, I lost my flat.

    I spent the next 18 months homeless, sleeping on friends floors & drinking. Had no fixed address, so no benefits, and survived by bouncing cheques, but at least the debt collectors couldn't find me either. It was only down to a kind family who took me in and helped me to sort myself out, that I'm still here today.

    So I finally got sorted with a job and a home, but the debt collectors still found me, and presented me with a letter demanding immediate payment of almost 10 grand, which caused me an awful lot of anxiety and nearly triggered another major episode. Have since sorted it out and paid the debt off, but I do feel that creditors should make some allowances in the way they deal with people with mental health issues, and agree that the benefits system needs to be overhauled, as the current system appears to be geared towards people with physical impairments, while ignoring people with invisible impairments such as those connected with mental health.
  • Just re-read my posting and want to say that I was very much loved by my parents... just wanted them around more, say when I got home from school...
  • I am another one of those with both MH and debt problems. I'm bipolar, have OCD and apparently, according to a couple of different shrinks, "a bit psychotic". God knows what that means.

    My relationship with money can alter wildly according to mood and wellness. When I'm up, I sit in front of my computer and just buy stuff. Doesn't really matter what, as long as there will be a steady stream of delivery drivers at my door. When I'm down, it tends to be smaller things like food and drink and magazines - but I buy them by the bucketload. On those rare occasions when I'm reasonably stable I actually spend what I have on things I need!

    I went bankrupt in Spring 2008. I owed £30,000 and my only income was Incapacity benefit and DLA. I had puty off going bankrupt for a while as I just didn't like the idea of it but a very good social worker sat down with me not long after I was sectioned and went through my debts and income and the likelihood of me actually being able to earn enough to pay it off and pushed me towards bankruptcy. I'm glad he did as it meant something less to worry about. My credit rating was abysmal by that stage anyway.

    I know we aqll have to take responsibility for the things we do but frankly, I didn't give a hoot when I was spending recklessly. I had no thought for the amount of debt I was running up or how I would pay it off. From many I have spoken to who have been in similar circumstances, thst's not uncommen.

    I would simply suggest that if you find yourself in a situation similar to the one I was in, don't discount bankruptcy. The court and receiver have been very understanding and have actually put me forward for early discharge. Just be honest with them and tell them how and why you ran up the debt and be very explicit about how your MH affected it. I know it has consequences for me but they are much more manageable for me than all that debt.
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