New money and mental health manifesto launched

The Money and Mental Health Institute has called on the next UK government to take five decisive steps to boost mental and financial wellbeing across the UK.

  1. Tackle the link between suicide and financial difficulty – here the Institute calls for:
  • Changes to be made to the Consumer Credit Act, as it believes that many consumers feel threatened by the nature of the arrears communications that lenders are legally obliged to send
  • A new regulator and complaints process for bailiffs
  • The new National Suicide Prevention Strategy, due to be launched next year, to explicitly recognise and prioritise the link between financial difficulty and suicide

 

  1. Make money advice available as part of NHS care – here the Institute calls for GPs and primary care professionals to provide information and signposting about money problems to people with mental health problems

 

  1. Help people with mental health problems to stay in work and support those who are too unwell to do so– here the Institute calls for:
  • Changes to sick pay legislation, including arrangements that would facilitate people with mental health illnesses returning to work on a phased basis
  • Measures to ensure everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to, as mental health problems can make it impossible to make telephone calls, attend appointments or fill in complex paperwork

 

  1. Stop firms profiting from consumers’ poor mental health– here the Institute calls for:
  • Consumers to be allowed to block certain types of transactions on credit and debit cards, such as gambling and premium-rate phone-lines; and for them to be allowed to block promotional emails
  • An end to insurance auto renewals, saying that the prospect of shopping around every year is not a realistic option for people with mental illness
  • Some basic minimum standards to be introduced to ensure that people with mental health problems get a fair deal. These should set out the support that customers should receive when they disclose a mental health problem

 

  1. Make it easier and safer for carers to support loved ones with money management – here the Institute calls for reform the Power of Attorney system, to give people and their carers a clearer variety of options for supported decision-making that do not involve giving away full financial autonomy

The charity’s Manifesto calls on firms, regulators and Government to recognise that financial difficulties and mental health issues are not isolated issues, and that there is something of a cycle here, i.e.:

  • A customer who experiences debt problems could suffer mental illness as a result, or
  • A customer with a mental health problem may be forced to give up their job, or their illness might lead to them being unable to make effective financial decisions

The Institute comments that:

  • People with mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in problem debt
  • Almost half of all people experiencing problem debt also have a mental health problem
  • People who have money worries alongside a depressive illness are four times more likely to remain depressed throughout the following 18 months, when compared to people who experience depression without having financial problems
  • It believes more than 1.5 million people in England alone are currently trapped in the ‘vicious cycle’ where debt and money problems feed off each other

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article