Recognising the increasing focus on the way in which debt problems and mental health conditions can have a reciprocal impact over recent years, the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) has been investigating the issues and undertaking important work in this area.
The main result of the Working Party’s efforts has been the MALG Good Practice Awareness Guidelines for Helping Consumers with Mental Health Conditions & Debt, launched in March 2015. This is the third edition of this document, first published in November 2007, with a second edition published in 2009. MALG is a non-policy making body and the Guidelines could not be imposed on either the advice or creditor sectors. However, the document has been acknowledged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in their Consumer Credit Sourcebook and approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This document has also been included in a number of creditor trade body Codes of Practice.
Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF)
In November 2012 the latest version of the Debt & Mental Health Evidence Form (see links below), an integral part of the Guidelines, was launched. The form was developed by MALG and Chris Fitch at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (now at Bristol University Personal Finance Research Centre). The form can be used by healthcare professionals, money advisers and creditors to more effectively evaluate people’s circumstances and arrive at informed decisions. Below is a set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for all users of the form and further specific guidelines for creditors and advisers with downloadable forms for each.
Other useful debt and mental health documents
- Debt Collection & Mental Health The Evidence Report 2009-2010: Lists in detail all the evidence collected from a national survey of 1,270 UK frontline collections staff.
- ‘Final Demand’ Leaflet: A pocket guide for health and social care professionals on working with people who are experiencing debt and mental health problems.
- Primary Care Guidance on Debt & Mental Health 2009: Provides useful information for providers of NHS Primary Care regarding the relationship between debt and mental health problems and makes suggestions about how to put patients in touch with relevant sources of assistance.
- Mental Health Websites: A list of websites that offer information regarding a range of mental health organisations and other resources.
- Mental Health Glossary: Explanation of relevant mental health terms produced by the North East London Mental Health Trust and the East London and The City Mental Health Trust.
- Lending, Debt Collection and Mental Health 2014: Guidance on 12 steps for treating potentially vulnerable customers fairly.
- Vulnerability A Guide for Advice Agencies: Guidance on 12 steps for treating clients in vulnerable situations fairly.
- Vulnerability: A guide for debt collection – 21 questions, 21 steps.
- Vulnerability: A guide for Lending.