Nikki Bond, Research Officer, Money and Mental Health

Preventing financial difficulty: share your expertise with us

16 August 2019

Mental health problems can make managing money more difficult by making it harder to concentrate, remember when bills are due, manage impulses or keep track of spending. Mental health problems often also coincide with a drop in income. These problems can cause distress and frustration as people struggle to make ends meet. Too often, this can lead to problem debt, and mean that people experiencing mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in financial difficulty. 

Preventing financial difficulty

We’ve already done a lot of work looking at how mental health, advice and essential service professionals can help people with mental health problems who are in problem debt – including working with essential services firms and regulators to improve debt collection practices, and ensuring people in mental health crisis will have access to ‘Breathing Space’ from fees, interest and collections activity while they’re unwell.  

But in our latest project, we want to look beyond resolving financial difficulties once they’ve occurred, and prevent them from occurring in the first instance. We’re looking for ways to help people experiencing mental health problems stay in control of managing their money while unwell, to try to prevent more serious financial problems from occurring in the first place.

This might be information on the links between money and mental health, signposting to specialist services, or simply sharing information about tools that might help, such as spending card controls, or ways to give a trusted family member or friend third party access to your essential services account.

We need your help

As part of this project, we’re speaking to our Research Community of 5,000 people with lived experience of mental health problems and their carers, to understand precisely the challenges they face in preventing financial problems before they occur.  

But to understand how we can better support people to avoid financial problems when they’re experiencing mental health problems, we also want to hear from people working in the sector. This might be as a health professional, therapists, social workers, advice workers, public health or policy professional, or those working in essential services. 

We’ve already asked our Professionals Network – a group of professionals working across mental health, advice and financial services, all with a desire to tackle the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems – to share their experiences and thoughts of how we can improve support for people experiencing mental health problems to prevent financial difficulties. 

If you’re already a member of our network, an email should have dropped in your inbox earlier this week, linking you to our survey. Just 10 minutes of your time to share your views and experiences will make a huge difference to our research, and help us understand the challenges you face in offering people preventative support. 

If you’re not already a member of our Professionals Network, but work in mental health, financial or advice services and would like to contribute, you can also complete our survey online here