Mental Health UK has launched a financial advice service designed to help the UK’s eight million people experiencing both poor mental health and money problems.
Mental Health and Money Advice is the first service to combine support for people with mental illness who are struggling with their money, as well as people whose money problems are affecting their mental health.
Recent research with over 1,500 professionals and people affected by poor mental health highlighted the need for specialist support. Of those surveyed nearly nine out of ten (87 per cent) wanted answers to mental health and money questions. Almost eight out of ten (78 per cent) wanted this information provided on a website while half of respondents (49 per cent) wanted to speak to a trained member of staff over the phone.
The free website provides a range of information, practical advice and tools such as template letters and calculators, tailored across the UK to ensure the advice is relevant and accurate. In addition, the website will feature stories and advice from people with first-hand experience of mental health and money problems. The service also includes an advice line which charities and debt organisations can use to refer people for specialist support.
Brian Dow, Managing Director of Mental Health UK, said: “Money problems and mental health issues like anxiety and depression can create a vicious cycle where problems can spiral. At its worst this can lead to debt, family breakdown and even homelessness.
“This service will provide some of the eight million people who are affected with somewhere to turn to. Somewhere they can get advice they can rely on and specialist mental health support.
Tanya Partridge, 33 from Bristol said: “I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety following a period when I was in completely unmanageable debt. I was constantly anxious as it was on my mind all day every day. I couldn’t see a way out. I felt worthless, useless for getting myself into that situation. I had panic attacks and withdrew from people which affected my work life and friendships.
“I did get help from a variety services but they couldn’t help with the mental health side of things. I remember crying when speaking to them and no one even asked if I was OK. I can definitely see how helpful a mental health and money advice service would have been. I am now doing better now, but you really can’t underestimate how much financial stress can impact on your mental health.”
A short animated film showing how the website works and the advice and support available can be viewed here.