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Mental health and money problems guidance site launched

Mental health and money problems guidance site launched

A debt advice service focusing on people with mental health issues has been launched.

Mental Health and Money Advice will combine support for people with mental illness who are struggling with their money, as well as those whose money problems are affecting their mental health.

The service will be delivered by mental health charity Mental Health UK and supported by a £3m backing from Lloyds banking group, which will act as a partner for the charity over the next two years.

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Research carried out by Mental Health UK earlier this year had highlighted the need for the specialist service, the charity said. 

The Financial Conduct Authority has also expressed increased interest in how firms are treating vulnerable clients, including those with mental health problems, and has issued guidance material on the subject.

Recent research with over 1,500 professionals and people affected by poor mental health highlighted the need for specialist support.

Of those surveyed almost 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 charity said.

The new online service is free for people to use, providing information, practical guidance and a variety of tools. 

It also features an advice line which charities and debt organisations can use to refer people for specialist support.

In addition, the site will provide access to stories and advice from people with first-hand experience of mental health and money problems. 

It is aimed at people with conditions such as depression and schizophrenia, but not at those suffering from dementia, who may need additional representation, Lloyds said.

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 is why we are launching this first of its kind service; to provide some of the eight million people who are affected with somewhere to turn to.”

Fiona Cannon, responsible business and inclusion director at Lloyds, added: “We are very proud to see Mental Health UK launch Mental Health and Money Advice today and look forward to seeing the positive impact the service will have on those affected by poor financial and mental health.”

Head of communications at Chase de Vere, Patrick Connolly, said: "This sounds like a great initiative. It is imperative that organisations, including financial advisers, have the processes in place to provide the best help and support for vulnerable clients, including those with mental health issues."

carmen.reichman@ft.com