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How your bank can help if poor mental wellbeing is affecting how you’re managing your money

If you’re experiencing problems with mental health, it can affect the way you are dealing with money. For example, you might have overspent on things you didn’t need as a way to make you feel better. Or you may have forgotten to pay important bills. This might mean you have gone overdrawn or fallen into arrears.

Telling your bank about your condition can take some of the stress off your finances, but you need to know what your current bank can do to make your life easier when it comes to your particular circumstances. Here’s what to look out for.

If you’re not sure if you have poor mental wellbeing, or if it is affecting your finances, try the NHS Money Worries tool.

Making it easy to talk

Talking to someone about what help you need to keep your money under control can be much easier when they know exactly what the problem is. How much better would you feel if you knew you were speaking to someone who understood what you were going through?

This is why some banks have dedicated teams that are specially trained to respond to the needs of people with mental health problems. If you think this will help you, check if your bank offers this service.

If you’re feeling very low or suicidal because of your money worries, you need to talk to someone now. Call 999 if you are in immediate danger or give the Samaritans a call on 166 123.

How can you tell your bank about your situation?

You might feel nervous or uncomfortable about telling your bank about your illness. So, think about how you prefer to talk to someone about the situation. In a branch, face to face, over the phone, or even by email or webchat?

Banks have different ways of letting you explain what’s going on. Find one that lets you do it the way you want.

Do you need to prove you have a mental health problem?

Your GP or another health professional may be able to provide a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form, which can help make sure that your mental health problems are taken into account.

Not all financial services will want to see written evidence of a mental health issue, though, so don’t feel you need to get the form before you talk to someone.

What can I expect once I’ve told my bank?

Every bank will do their best to put you in touch with their own specially trained people or point you in the direction of support outside of the bank.

Depending on the services your bank offers, if you go into a branch to talk to someone face-to-face, then you should be offered a private appointment to discuss what you need with a trained adviser. If you phone, you’ll be able to speak to someone in a special customer services team.

Many banks will also offer to put a note on your details in their systems. This means that anyone you deal with from the bank will know about your circumstances, so your bank will be in a better position to try and give you the service you need.

Your illness might mean that your bank will keep a closer look at your finances as well. Don’t be put off by this, it’s designed to offer you a safety net. It means you might get contacted earlier if you get into money problems, which should stop things before they get too bad, and help you recover faster. They may help you to set up standing orders or Direct Debits if you need to pay regular bills and contact you if there are problems.

You could also have the option of setting up special services. This might include letting someone you know talk to your bank for you, support with loan repayments and dealing with creditors, or temporarily switch off the ability to make remote purchases.

Remember, if you need something, ask. Banks will accommodate as best they can.

If you’re struggling with your finances, you should also go and find some free financial help and information outside of your bank. A debt adviser will talk through your money worries and find ways for you to manage your debts, all confidentially. They can suggest solutions you may not know about and can help even if you don’t think you have any spare money to deal with your debt.

You can talk to debt advisers online, on the telephone or face-to-face - however you feel most comfortable.

Get free debt advice now

Where else to get help

We have a guide on Money problems and poor mental wellbeing that can help you stop poor mental wellbeing from affecting your money management.

Mental health is complex and there can be many other symptoms other than feeling low. If you (or someone you care for) needs support with mental health, these organisations can also help:

NHS Choices

Rethink

Mind

The Mental Health Foundation

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