Most people find managing money a chore – I know I do. But when you’re struggling with poor mental health as well as the bills, it can all get on top of you, and you can find your finances spiralling out of control.
It’s the time when you may be most in need of support from the benefits system – and least able to go through the process of making a claim. That’s why the work Turn2Us is doing is so important to raise awareness and support people to get the money to which they are entitled, and why their #BenefitsAware campaign can make a real difference.
I’m the Director of a new organisation called the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. It’s backed by a generous donation from Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert, who’s determined to use his expertise to help all those with mental health conditions to manage their money better. We want the finance industry and the government to change the way they do things to break the devastating link between money trouble and mental health problems.
One of the root causes is the struggle many people with mental health problems face with the benefits system. Unlike physical health problems, when it comes to mental illness, the part of you that’s unwell is actually the part you need to manage your money, fill in forms and deal with the complex processes required by government compliance regimes. So there’s a double whammy hit to your finances.
And because waiting times can be so slow long in mental health, you can find yourself going weeks or months without treatment, and all the while your debts are mounting up and you don’t have the mental strength to deal with them, let alone the money to pay them off.
With the new Policy Institute we want to build a way out of this cycle of problems. If we make it easier for people to manage their money during a mental health crisis, there’s evidence to suggest they’ll recover earlier. Working with organisations like Turn2Us will also be vital to ensure everyone gets the money they need, and those who struggle with the process get the support necessary to get through. That will make it easier for them to get back to work, and recover their financial wellbeing, too.
You can find out more about the Policy Institute and sign up to support our work at our website www.moneyandmentalhealth.org.