Money worries have a big impact on mental health recovery, says charity

Money worries and property problems can make mental health issues worse, Citizens Advice has warned.

Its new study revealed that the most common mental health problems staff are assisting with are debt and money problems, unemployment and work, and housing and welfare.

Mental health staff say these problems had a negative impact on their patients’ ability to manage their mental health, complete a course of treatment and ultimately recover.

Elsewhere, its data found that clients with mental health problems are more likely to face multiple, complex problems compared to the average client – 5.3 compared to 3.8.

The charity has called for advice services to be integrated into mental health services to provide more effective treatment.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “If you’re living with mental health problems, everyday issues like managing your money, dealing with your landlord, or applying for benefits can be much more difficult to manage. But if these issues aren’t addressed, they can often escalate and make mental health problems worse – creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from.

“Providing people with practical support is essential to make sure these problems don’t spiral out of control, but this should not be the job of already stretched mental health professionals. To reduce pressure on frontline NHS staff and better support people with mental health problems, advice services should be available in mental health settings as a matter of course.”

Dr Jed Boardman, Lead for Social Inclusion, Royal College of Psychiatrists, added: “In order to stay mentally healthy, we all need enough money in our pockets, a decent roof over our heads, some valued work, and a supportive environment.  People with mental health problems need all of these to aid their recovery, as well as engagement with effective therapies.

“The effects of the present lack of advice services available for people with mental health conditions, as highlighted in the report, are exacerbated as mental health professionals try to do their job in the context of increasingly stretched resources. Integrating advice services in mental health settings is one important means of improving the lives of people with mental health conditions and the mental health workforce.”

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