After hearing of cases from my constituents and from information provided by the Money and Mental Health Institute, it is apparent that up to a third of people with mental health issues and are in debt, who request medical proof of their condition to prove to their creditors, are being charged up to £150 for a doctor’s note as proof.
This a disappointing practice which can have a profoundly negative impact on those with mental health issues. If you are in debt already then you probably won’t be able to afford this extortionate amount for a note. This payment could worsen conditions as a result of the stress.
This is why I am promoting the #StoptheCharge campaign. If you wish to get involved to help stop this practice of charging for these doctors’ notes when needing them as proof to a creditor, then you can visit the Money and Mental Health Institute’s website at http://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/stopthecharge/
If you fill in your details your name will be added to a letter which will be sent to the Health Minister.
I also wanted to provide some information and websites which could help you if you are in the situation where you are struggling with mental health problems, and as a result are having money problems due to a lack of income.
Assistance with Your Mental Health
You can find advice on the Mind, Rethink or Mental Health Foundation websites, or at NHS Choices.
For 24-hour support you can also call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.
You can download Martin Lewis’s free guide which provides guidance and useful resources on how to cope with these issues. Especially on how to deal with any financial problems you may be facing.
But, if you need more direct help with your finances, there a variety of free-to-use advice and support services with many advisers trained to help those with mental health problems. Citizen’s Advice, Stepchange, Christians Against Poverty and National Debtline can all help.
Mental Health Issues Can Qualify You For Disability-Related Benefits
Anyone with a disability, which can include mental health problems, may be entitled to some form of payment. You can quickly check this through www.moneysavingexpert.com/benefits
Anyone over 16 who has a diagnosed mental health problem may be entitled to a Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This isn’t means-tested, so you can get it whether you work or not and it isn’t affected by savings or income.
The Form to Give to Your GP
This a form to download for your health care provider to use to tell your creditors about your mental health problems. It helps them to give clear and relevant evidence about how your mental health affects how you deal with money. It is quick to fill in and has been recognised by major UK creditor and advice membership organisations.
Once creditors have received this form, they often offer easier payment terms, cancel charges or interest, or may even write some debts off altogether.