Making a Difference
to people's lives

Money Matters - debt and mental health

Our Senior Debt Adviser Dan Bebbington talks about the stigma surrounding money troubles - and why it's good to talk.

According to the mental health charity Mind – one in four of us will suffer a mental health problem in any given year – scarily, that’s 25% of the population, with many people often having to tackle these issues on their own.

40% of people keep secrets from their loved ones about money, according to research by the Money and Pensions Service. This includes hidden debts on credit cards and loans.

The ‘M’ has such a proudness attached to it – no one really like talking about money especially when they are struggling. Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. Being stuck in a vicious cycle of money worries and mental health concerns isn’t great as each can aggravate the other.

Worrying about money puts you in a really dark and lonely place – I think this is just something that embedded into us from a young age, especially the baby boomer era as school didn’t really teach much around how to manage your money. There’s also the ‘stiff upper lip’ image to maintain – us Brits are not very good when it comes to talking about money issues. I say this should change - in my career I’ve spoken to many clients who are too afraid of approaching their family or friends as they fear being judged.. However, I know from experience that it’s not like that at all. Usually having the chat can open up positive conversations and outcomes.

I would encourage anyone to reach out for support – there are many free debt advice services around, each able to support people with different needs – you have digital, face to face, telephone services – all eager to help people!

I’ve heard these words escape clients’ mouths on a number of occasions – ‘you’ve really saved me!’ interpret that as you wish – but I can kind of guess what they meant!

Thankfully debt advisors like myself have been able to utilise the new Debt Respite Scheme - also known as Breathing Space. This is a government scheme where a hold can be place for a period of 60 days – this allows time for a debt advisor and client to work through their situation and find the best possible outcome. During the 60 days, creditors aren’t able to take any action on debts – however ongoing payments should be paid. It’s not designed to be a payment holiday, but it is a welcome bit of respite when creditors are hounding about what’s owed.

Talking over your worries can help you make sense of what you’re facing and your friend or loved one may even be able to come up with solutions that you hadn’t thought of alone.

Our specialist Money Matters team provides information and advice to our tenants, on the whole range of welfare entitlements including Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Council Tax Support, Income Support or PIP.

To contact a Welfare Benefit Advisor please telephone 01952 217234, email, or speak to your Housing Executive

22nd March 2022