This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of mental health and associated problems to promote good mental health for everyone. The week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
The focus of this year’s campaign is stress. Stress is not a mental health problem, but if experienced for a long period of time it can start to impact on both mental and physical health.
A new survey from the Mental Health Foundation showed that almost three quarters (74%) of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. The same survey showed that of adults who reported feeling stressed in the last year, more than one in five (22%) reported feeling stressed due to debt.
Money worries and mental health are often linked. People worry about how to make ends meet, and how to repay credit they have taken on, leading to further stress. A mental health condition can also make it more difficult to manage your money. Research has found that 50% of people struggling with debt have a mental health issue.
For these reasons it is important that lenders consider mental health as part of the ongoing customer journey. Likely, this can be achieved through your policy on vulnerable customers which should include how to deal with those that you identify with a mental health problem.
Lenders should consider how they can support customers that are suffering from mental health problems as it is a key part of treating customers fairly. Staff should have the right skills and training to identify and assist customers that may be affected.
For more resources please visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
The Money Advice Trust also offers a range of training courses on vulnerable customers and mental health: http://www.moneyadvicetrust.org/creditors/creditsector/Pages/default.aspx