CC Live: Mind bids for better debt support for mental health users

Mental health charity Mind today called for better regulation of banks, lenders and bailiffs in order to help people with mental illness who are in debt.

Campaigns manager Susie Rabin and campaigns officer Emma Mamo told Community Care Live that debt was often present in the lives of people with mental illness and can frequently exacerbate their conditions.

This week, Mind launched a campaign to improve the way lenders and creditors treat indebted people with mental health problems and to boost awareness among health and social care professionals about financial problems facing service users.

A survey by the charity found over half of people with mental health problems had experienced “problem debt” – defined as falling more than two payments behind on at least one bill. Over 90% of this group had experienced a deterioration in their condition.

The charity is calling for banks to train debt recovery staff in dealing with mental health issues, and Mamo and Rabin praised the Royal Bank of Scotland for its work in this area, saying others should follow suit.

They also said care professionals should particularly look at life events such as splitting up with partners, the death of friends or relatives, and the loss of jobs or benefits as triggers for debt.

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