iving people with mental health problems equal access to vital services

Picture of the report cover

Nikki Bond, Research Officer, Katie Evans, Head of Research and Policy, and Merlyn Holkar, Senior Research Officer

A little help from my friends

Tools to support financial decision-making for people with mental health problems

16 July 2019

Many people with mental health problems rely on friends or family for help with managing their finances. However, this report shows that people are often struggling to get this support  because the tools for sharing financial decision-making – such as Power of Attorney – are not working well for them.  As a result, many people are resorting to risky wordarounds, such as sharing bank cards and account details, which can leave both them and their carers vulnerable to fraud or legal difficulties.

To ensure that people with mental health problems and their carers can share financial decision-making in a safe and effective way, Money and Mental Health recommends:

  • That the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) considers whether new structures are needed to formalise the roles of carers in supported decision-making. This should be alongside looking at ways to improve the flexibility of existing Power of Attorney arrangements, in order to give people a clearer variety of options for supported decision-making that don’t involve giving away full financial autonomy. 
  • That the government ensures that the Social Care Green Paper addresses the challenges carers face when supporting loved ones with financial management.
  • That essential services firms offer customers more tools to share financial decision-making – including options such as ‘carers cards’ or third party notifications on spending and bank balances.