Protection  

Fintech plan launches to help debt-related mental ill-health

Fintech plan launches to help debt-related mental ill-health

Mental ill-health caused by financial debt is being tackled head-on by a new programme available through insurers' and National Health Services' care plan packages.

The Space from Money Worries programme, created by SilverCloud Health, is a free service available to patients across the NHS via GP referral, which will supplement their existing care plan.

The programme will be made available to SilverCloud’s UK healthcare partners, including 60 per cent of NHS mental healthcare providers, as well as organisations such as workplace insurance providers Bupa and Nuffield Health.

It will also be made available to financial services institutions who are seeking to meet current and upcoming regulatory requirements to assist vulnerable customers.

The online programme aims to help financial services to empower vulnerable clients, many of whom suffer financial problems as a result of their mental ill-health, or whose debt-related problems have triggered their mental ill-health.

It is designed to target the link between finances and mental health, helping individuals to learn the skills to challenge negative thoughts around finances, learn about avoidance behaviour and feel more confident about facing financial fears, including strategies to boost mood without spending and reduce impulse spending.

Ken Cahill, chief executive of SilverCloud, said: "Space from Money Worries enables banks, lenders or other creditors to offer scalable services necessary for people who are experiencing financial difficulties.

"Given the success we have seen with our mental health programmes, with recovery rates in line with face-to-face therapy, we know that technology can play a vital role in extending and scaling care while improving outcomes on both the mental health and the complex interwoven financial challenges that individuals struggling with debt face."

The launch, on 18 July, came a couple of months after MPs passed an amendment as part of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, which aims to ensure vulnerable people under crisis care for mental health problems will not be pursued by financial institutions.

In June, provider Bupa published the results of a study into mental health and the workplace, in which it found misconceptions around mental health conditions in the workplace had caused one in four employees to delay seeking treatment for mental health conditions.

It also found 60 per cent of UK employees were unable to identify key symptoms of the most common mental health conditions.

A spokesman for Drewberry said although advisers and providers can help raise awareness and tackle mental ill health in the workplace, there is a lot more that employers could and should do to try to address this problem.

He pointed to the CIPD, which "has a lot of useful content and resources to help employers tackle this important issue", but added: "The main area where advisers can help is in properly educating employers on the benefits that come with many group plans.