People with mental health issues should be asked about finances – charity

People receiving treatment for mental health issues should be routinely asked about their finances as part of urgent action needed to end a devastating cycle of debt, according to a charity.

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has said the links between debt, mental health issues and suicide must be a priority in stimulus packages for the coronavirus pandemic.

GPs, A&E services and community mental health services should systematically ask people receiving treatment for mental health issues about their finances and provide clear signage to help those in need, the association said.

Banks, energy companies and other essential service providers should proactively identify customers who may be experiencing difficulties and improve their support, he added.

Money and Mental Health, a charity created by champion consumer Martin Lewis, said people with mental health issues were more likely to take on serious debt during the pandemic.

A summer poll found that in the past 12 months, people with mental health issues were more than twice as likely to have been late on at least one payment (37% vs. 14% of those without mental health problems).

The charity reported the results after commissioning a survey of more than 5,000 people who have experienced a mental health problem and 1,000 people without mental health problems.

The State We’re In report also shows that one in four (25%) people with mental health issues have no savings they could use for an urgent or urgent expense, a higher proportion than those without mental health problems, at 18%.

Almost half (46%) of people with a mental health problem agreed with the statement “I can’t afford to save money on a regular basis”, compared to a third (33%) of people living with a mental health problem. people without mental health problems.

People with mental health problems were more than twice as likely as others to have used credit or borrowing to cover daily expenses such as food or heat (26% vs. 11%).

More than two-fifths (44%) of UK adults with mental health issues who fell behind on their bills last year have considered or attempted suicide, according to the report.

He added that many people with mental health and financial issues missed payment holidays during the pandemic.

Commenting on the research, Mr Lewis, president of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “The pandemic has financially divided the nation. Many won – those with support and lower costs often racked up savings.

“Yet for others it was catastrophic, and it is a national tragedy that a disproportionate number of this group are people struggling with their mental health who have not received the support they need to avoid reaching the point of crisis.

“We are only beginning to understand the full impact of the pandemic on our lives. But these shocking results make it clear that too many people with mental health issues and debt have been shut out of aid and left through the cracks, and the results have been disastrous.

“It’s about sounding the alarm. Government, health professionals and essential services must redouble their efforts to prevent people with mental health problems from falling further into financial difficulties. Better to prevent, and in the long run cheaper for the nation, than to cure.

“I hope the ‘build back better’ rhetoric from the pandemic is more than just sound bites, because there is no time to waste – lives are at stake.”

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