Money and Mental Health Policy Institute launched

March 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

New Money and Mental Health Policy InstituteA new multi-million pound policy think tank has been launched, which aims to help people with mental health problems manage their finances.

The ‘Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’ is the brainchild of founder and finance expert Martin Lewis, who has donated £2million to the new project.

Research will be undertaken into the link between mental health problems and debt, while working alongside banks, lenders, regulators, health service providers and the government to create solutions around better protecting those with mental illness.

Martin says that the institute has been created based on evidence that “mental health and debt problems are a marriage made in hell”.

He said: “I’ve been looking at debt and mental health for years, and written many practical guides. Thankfully, business and the financial services industry have got far better at dealing with people who are having problems. Yet there’s never been any real focus on prevention.

“It’s a privilege to be in a position to try and do something about that. As a first stage we want to look at ideas which could allow people to put financial controls in place when they’re well, for times when they’re out of control.

“For example, spending sprees are common both with clinical depression and bipolar hypomania. So being able to put a freeze on your credit file that takes eight weeks to unlock, so you can’t apply meanwhile, would be useful. Lenders could also offer a ‘high control’ credit card option, so that if unusual spending patterns happen, the card is frozen for a set time unless a nominated trusted friend agrees to unfreeze it.

“This is the type of thing we want to research, and work with lenders to test and regulators and politicians to ensure the framework allows it to happen.

“Debt isn’t just a financial problem – it causes relationships and families to break up, and people to lose their homes and their lives. Debt is a common problem for people living with mental health problems, and it can make those problems worse.

“It is my dream that in a decade’s time, when you call up to get lending you could say ‘by the way, I’ve got bipolar disorder’ and no one bats an eye – they just say ‘sure, we’ve a number of control options you may want to consider’.”

Read more here.

March 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm | News | No comment

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