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

in Debt-Free Wannabe
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  • Hi
    I'm on an IVA with Debt Free Direct. At the time I took out that IVA, I was recovering from a nervous breakdown, under antidepressants for depression, battleling with alcoholism, underwent counselling and suffering from self isolation and self harm. I was not in the right frame of mind when I accumulated these debts around 2001 - 2004 and agreeing to an IVA. Now I've combat most of my issues and taking back control of my life, I now want to know exactly how much I owe my creditors, when I owe and copies of proof. I've contacted some of my creditors and have eliminated one off my list. I'm now almost at the end of my IVA (5years) and would like to know whether I have any claims to some of my money already paid to DFD, and how do I go about claiming some of my money back? And is there an easier way of getting copies of proof of my debts from creditors rather than them giving me the run-a-round? Under the IVA I'm unable to get a debit card from my bank of 7-8years. Can anyone help?
  • Hi,

    I'm a student mental health nurse and work with a wide range of people experiencing differing levels of mental ill health.

    I have found that many of the people that I work with have some degree of debt problems and this is probably greater than the level of debt per head of population without mental health problems. Many clients develop a debt problem normally, then develop a mental health problem such as depression, this is often recoverable if people seek the appropriate support from friends, family even their GP. Sadly some people take their own lives, in part because of the effect of pressure from debt collectors.

    Other people have severe and enduring mental health problems, and often develop debt for several reasons such as diminished understanding of finance or being socialy excluded into a life of poverty.

    Sadly there has been little effort from financial institutions to ensure that potential debtors understand the debt they are being sold, with no expectation for potential customers to be able to retain information or make a balanced choice. The much spoke about 30 day cooling off period is useless if you can't retain information regarding the debt or its consequences (such as repayment).

    There are some companies that seem to target people with debt problems, suggesting they can solve all your worries. Again they appeared to be more focussed on a sale or agreement than on the debtors needs.

    One could ask if financial institutions should make judgements based on someones capacity to make a decision. I'm not sure if that is excessivley invasive but it would show some ethical responsibility..... To discuss.

    In my practice I have referred people to CAB and to CAP depending on their level of need. There are social services staff who can help some people but their time is limited and we have to rely on the voluntary sector for support.
  • Hi everyone - I'm a clinical psychologist too, and part of my current role is to help develop primary and intermediate care psychological services (this means front line, low intensity 'treatments' for people with mild-moderate mental health problems, aimed at preventing people's difficulties from escalating to the degree that they require more intensive and stigmatizing services or medication). Unsurprizingly, we do currently see a lot of people struggling under the pressure of debt and general financial insecurity at the moment. Although they may present with a range of other difficulties also, I often wonder to what degree these might be alleviated and even disappear if it wasn't for the additional financial stress. I have been thinking for a while about setting up a self-help group for people experiencing fincancial difficulties combined with mental health issues. I hope that this will have the impact of helping people to gain an increased belief in their own abilities to handle financial problems through supporting each other and also for people to feel less shame and stigma through realizing they are not alone with these problems. I confess, however, that helping people through financial difficulties was not exactly covered in my training, so I will need to seek advice from a variety of colleagues and organizations with regards to how best to aid this process. I intend to watch this thread carefully for ideas! I do agree to a degree with Meema's approach to working with individuals who my be suffering due to debt problems . I think it is important for people to realize that they can have some control over their own financial circumstances. However, I also believe that society has a large part to play in people entering into debt and this too needs to be addressed. People tend to be under huge pressures to conform to materialistic values and individual's sense of success in life and as a person tends to be tied closely into material wealth. Hence when people do not achieve this, not only do they have to cope with feeling 'poor' but they also have to cope with the implication that they are not a 'good enough' person/provider for their family. A lot of the government's publicized strategies aimed at tackling the current 'credit crunch' appear to be aimed at encouraging people who are already struggling to spend more and also coming down hard on people already in difficult socio-economic circumstances (eg those on 'benefits'). Personally, I would like to see more done by the government to raise awareness and educate people about money and debt and how to avoid getting into such difficulties in the first place (that's just one of the reasons I'm a fan of MSE as I think it does just this!). Of course, changing the culture around money and spending takes time and effort and will not happen overnight, but I do think it could have more benefits in the long-term . Also, more support aimed at improving the environment and circumstances of disadvantged communites is likely to be beneficial. I am due to start delivering a package aimed at reducing stigma around mental health and promoting well being strategies (including positive money management) some time in the new year. This will go out to a range of local schools, community centres, libraries and businesses etc. in the hope of beginning to address some of these issues and so I'll see how that goes. I'd appreciate any ideas or comments with regards to these areas though. Ok, I'll get down off my soapbox now sorry for the long post!
  • Thank you Martin for so many things - for caring enough to take action which will help so many people.

    I cannot thank you enough for putting together a list of advice contacts such as 'Community Legal Advice' phone number 0845 345 4 345. This contact enabled me to talk with people who understood my worries and were able to advise me. I will be able to let go of the crippling fear of not knowing what to do now, thankyou. I was also able to let go of the feelings of being
    inadequate and a social reject.

    After months of endless fear which manifested itself by my withdrawing from society. Rabbit in the headlights syndrome!! I found a several threads on your forums which helped enormously.

    two areas of worry were:
    I have been worried sick that I would lose my home and Why am I needlessly spending the little I have. I could not talk with friends or family over this as I know they could not help and it would cause them worry so that left me....your website as a starting point.

    Steps I am now taking today
    firstly look at the problems I thought I had : what didn't I know and what I needed to know .
    working out what questions to ask. On one of the sites forums, a member had posted a quote ' the only stupid question is the one you don't ask' - that spurred me on. So I am asking advice on all the areas I do not understand.
    Next: Having a starting point by finding contact numbers of societies and charities etc which could help give me direction. (Thank you!!)
    Next- be brave enough to pick up the phone and simply explain my situation and to ask the questions
    Next; to follow the line of phone contact numbers given to me and not give up at the first or second phone call.

    I have also started to work through my emotional state when I have the urge to buy and continue to buy. To that end I will now ask myself What is the emotion I am feeling before.I buy: What is the emotion I am feeling after. A big surprise for me- I can tell you - my answer was :the main emotions were of frustration and anger at various people in my life.

    I have been seeing a counsellor for months to deal with fear and my not opening my mail etc - I got more help , insight, and understanding of the 'whys' by finding others on this forum - who have shared their own experiences and fears. It has given me an insight into my behaviour when dealing or should I say not dealing with my own problems.

    As a starting point, Some times one just needs a simple list of questions to answer. Whats your main concern, Can you break your problem into sections, who can you ask advice from. A ticklist of of problem areas accompanied with a list of who would be the people to contact : who may offer advice or direct them to an area which could give them the advice needed would be beneficial.

    Most mental issues are around the emotions of fear and the dispair of not knowing what to do. Because one wants to reject the turmoil of raw negative gut ripping emotions - it is easy to transferr that into 'I am the one who is being or should be rejected by society. Perhaps a list of emotions tapped into when one finds ones self down this road would help others recognise the association between their behaviour and their emotions- they would then know they are are not alone.

    I hope this has helped in some way
  • So far most of the posts are either from individuals dealing with their own depression or professionals dealing with others, so I would like to chip in on behalf of those that have shared their life with a depressive.

    I spent years living with somebody who (I know now) was a borderline depressive who ran up massive debts both overtly and secretly. It should be remembered its not just the 'sufferer' who suffers, but those dragged into the consequences of their actions- whatever the historical reasons for their behavior.

    The relationship between my ex and thier spending is far more complex than I can fit in 1 post but the link between debt and depression are glaringly obvious such is the benefit of informed hindsight.
  • Dear Martin,

    I am writing for some help, I have been suffering depression and have not worked for many years I do not claim my husband supports me, I am now having counselling and have been refered to the mental health department of my hospital. I am trying to get better but in the meantime I have money worries.

    I have had issues with HSBC I tried to claim back the charges applied to my account and I told them I was in financial hardship as I have been unemployed and on citalopram, I told them the difficulties and the added stress they were causing me especially as the money I owed HSBC was mostly charges that if the court case was won I would get back which would make my account nearly 0.

    They froze my account for a while and told me to contact them again and let them know if my circumstances had changed which I did, but sadly my situation has got worse and I have increased medication. They were most unhelpful. I wrote to them and rang them, and now emailed. They are passing my case to the metropolitan debt collectors, which has stressed me further they also said I should claim benefit in order that I pay them back. I told them that I was unable to sometimes leave the home and so would not get the benefit as you would need to go for meetings etc.

    I offered to pay them £1 a month but they said this was not acceptable. I said that they could not get blood out of a stone.

    My husband pays everything and he works for himself so some weeks we are struggling. He also does not want them to know his situation as he feels it is none of their business and this has lead to arguments.

    Please help me.

    I don't know what to do.

    Kind Regards
    L Yilmaz
  • JDPowerJDPower Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Just bumping this post up in the hope that someone can offer the above poster (daisyhats) some help/advice.

    Sounds an absolutely dreadful situation and I really feel for you (as someone dealing with depression also), unfortunately I don't know enough to be able to help with that particular situation but I hope (am sure) someone can offer some advice.

    Only thing I would suggest would be to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, they would probably be best placed to help and will be very understanding of your personal situation, you're not the first to find yourself in this situation and you certainly won't be the last.
  • FranFran Forumite
    11.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    daisyhats wrote: »
    I told them that I was unable to sometimes leave the home and so would not get the benefit as you would need to go for meetings etc.

    My husband pays everything and he works for himself so some weeks we are struggling. He also does not want them to know his situation as he feels it is none of their business and this has lead to arguments.

    I don't know what to do.

    Kind Regards
    L Yilmaz

    You would be best contacting Citizens Advice or any benefits advisors in your area, you will probably get a home visit if you are unable to leave the house (depending on local availability). Often a phone call from them (with you there/with your permission) works much better than if you speak to them yourself.

    Regarding Benefits, anywhere you put in a claim will want to know the household income of you and your husband so that is a difficult one.
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • Hello,

    I wanted to share my experience of helping my brother who is schizophrenic and ask advice about how we can move forward with his debt problems.

    My brother who is in his mid 30's was diagnosed schizophrenic 15 years ago but has been stabilized for the past 10 years. He started to become ill again last September. By the time the warning signs started showing, increasing his medication did not help and he was admitted to hospital and sectioned for the first time in October last year.

    It turns out that he has been getting extremely stressed due to his financial situation, and this was the major contributing factor in his decline this time. He says he was crying most nights due to not knowing what to do about his finances.

    He had £900 on a storecard, was over £1000 overdrawn and has a bank loan for over £14,000. The overdraft and bank loan are with his bank that he has been with since he was first ill. They have seen him receiving his DLA payments (although this has recently changed to income support) into his account and the paltry sum he receives for the 15 hrs a week he works. How can they possibly think he could pay more than 3 years salary back? I am trying to track through his paperwork and I believe his initial loan was for £4000 (this was sold with loan protection!) and he topped this up by a further £10,000 less than a year later. I think he did not take loan protection on this second amount.

    He is due to come out of hospital soon and is still extremely stressed about his financial situation. My mother has cleared his storecard debt and due to him being in hospital and us paying for his cigarettes and spending money his overdraft has been cleared.

    I have contacted his bank to explain the situation and see if someone would discuss his finances with me with written consent from my brother, as I hoped I could give him some positive news in hospital. They would not discuss anything, and I fully understand this - it was worth a try.

    I am hoping to make an appointment with my brother and myself at his bank when he is released. I am very angry that they have let him get in this much debt, and although I appreciate he is an adult, I find it miraculous that they have lent him this amount of money.

    Would it be worth asking for a freeze in interest or reduced payments? His current payments are over £200 a month which is just not viable, as he will not be returning to work for some time.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
    26K Posts
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    I have had depression, insomnia and anxiety, and still suffer to some degree. I didn't work for a couple of years and was incapacity benefit until I got a letter between Xmas and New Year one year advising me I was no longer entitled. I did Avon and signed on for a while: now working, studying and generally supporting myself.

    I think many people on incapacity benefit can and should do some form of work. HOWEVER it's how the situation is handled that's critical. The person must be part of the decision, along with one or more advocates from the heath service, voluntary sector, friend or family. Many people on Incapacity Benefits could regain confidence, social pleasure, and a routine from working - perhaps starting with a couple of hours each week.

    The letter I received was sent when the offices were shut, and there was no mention in the letter of the fact that I was entitled to Jobseekers' Allowance, nor that I would not be expected to seek full time work immediately. I was lucky - I was just about in a fit state to handle the situation but it did really set me back and was very frightening. But I am sure the same has happened to people who are not able to cope.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
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