THE BLOG

"So If You Spend £000s Of Someone Else's Money Just Cry 'Mental Health Problem'"

11/10/2016 13:34 | Updated 11 October 2016
Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Some people really can miss the point. Especially on Twitter.

Today I launched a new 'stop the charge' campaign, with the mental health charity I founded, The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

One in three NHS GPs charge those with mental health problems and in debt crisis between £15 and £150, to sign the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. This is a form that many creditors require before they can treat someone as a vulnerable customer.

We're asking the Government to recategorise this form as an NHS form, so that no GPs can charge for it - removing a barrier that prevents many getting the help they need. When I posted on social media, most of the support was great. Yet as usual, some people like to see mental health as a weakness, or made up. The most potent of those was this simple tweet:

'So if you spend £000's of someone else's money just cry 'mental health problem'

So I bashed out a response, that seemed to resonate with many and therefore I thought I'd post it here:

Sadly mental health issues can be a crying matter: they can lead to loss of job, family, standard of living, and indeed loss of life too. Your question is somewhat insulting to the many people with clinical conditions.

The whole point of the #stopthecharge campaign is that to be treated as a 'vulnerable customer' you need the 'debt and mental health evidence form' signed by your GP. So no, you can't just 'cry' mental health, it has to be medically confirmed. While thankfully most GPs do this at no charge, one in three GPs want paying between £15 and £150.

And this charge, for people in debt crisis, paradoxically stops people getting the crucial help from creditors that they need. That then makes their mental health worse. This is why we are asking for the form to be recategorised as an NHS form (similar to the fitness for work form) so it's not charged for.

That help from creditors may be having the debt wiped out, or the interest frozen. It can just mean no debt collectors knocking on the door, and a specialist team managing the case who still get paid, but without exacerbating someone's mental health condition.

The link between mental health and debt crisis is horrendous. You are up to five times more likely to be in debt crisis if you've a mental health condition than everyone else.

To see a clinical mental health condition like depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, bipolar, personality disorder and more as an easy option, is laughable, when you meet people who have been to hell inside their own heads.

If you'd like to support the #StopTheCharge campaign, you'll find full info here

Comments

CONVERSATIONS