Mental health issues are on the rise, as is debt problems. In fact, debt can often be the tipping point, bringing people who are already suffering from anxiety and depression to the tipping point and leave them considering suicide as the only way out.
I’ve been there. I remember being in that bleak black hole and seeing no way out from the spiralling debt and the crippling feelings of failure. To make matters worse you can find yourself missing work or even hospitalised which further deepens your debt as you have no income coming in but still need money to eat.
Research shows that in England alone, 20,000 people were struggling with debt whilst in the hospital because of their mental health.
Even in the hospital, there’s no escape, especially with mobile phones making us accessible wherever we may be. So those people are still receiving phone calls and emails from banks, credit card companies, local authorities and other creditors whilst in acute distress and struggling with their mental health, perhaps already feeling suicide.
Thousands more around the UK are in a similar situation even though they are not in the hospital yet still receiving mental health support in the community.
The Government is introducing a new “Breathing Space” scheme to give people in debt a window without fees or charges and where they won’t be pursued by creditors if they seek debt advice.
Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t support the tens of thousands of people in mental health crisis who are too unwell to either manage their finances alone or to visit a debt advisor.
So those who are in the hospital and cannot get to a debt advisor for help, those people who are already struggling to deal with their mental health will still be hounded by phone calls and emails demanding money and threatening legal action.
This is why Money and Mental Health, supported by 23 national organisations and Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert, are calling on the Government to extend the Breathing Space scheme to allow people in hospital or receiving support in the community to be able to access the scheme even though they may be unable to visit a debt advisor or manage their finances alone.
To support this scheme, like I do, visit their website and add your name to their letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP. It is a quick and easy way to show your support.