The Money & Mental Health Policy Institute has published a new report entitled Whose job is it anyway? How mental health practitioners help navigate financial difficulty.
Financial difficulties have a daily and destructive impact on the work of mental health professionals and support staff. One in four people with a mental health problem are also in problem debt, and mental health professionals report that these financial difficulties and resulting insecurity can undermine therapeutic interventions.
This report assesses the extent to which mental health practitioners are currently equipped to support service users experiencing financial difficulty, drawing on a new survey of 216 mental health professionals and depth interviews with 22 practitioners.
Practitioners help people experiencing financial difficulty in four main ways:
1. Identifying financial difficulty
2. Supporting people experiencing problem debts to access appropriate advice services
3. Providing practical support where service users struggle to access other sources of advice
4. Offering specialist help to address the underlying psychological causes and consequences of financial difficulty.
At each stage practitioners face challenges:
- Identifying the problem
- Enabling access to advice
- Providing practical support
- Offering psychological support
These challenges mean the existing support provided by mental health practitioners to people experiencing financial difficulty is not as effective as it could be, or as efficient, incurring costs for both service users and service providers.
To help resolve these difficulties, Money & Mental Health Policy Institute recommends:
1. Integrated commissioning to bridge the gap
2. Training and tools for mental health practitioners
3. Make information sharing and communication easier