Money Wellness
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category iconMoney Wellness
calendar icon18 May 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week: Trevor’s story

The cost-of-living crisis has stretched a lot of our finances to breaking point. This is bad enough for anyone but when you’re also coping with a mental health condition, it can be especially difficult. Half of our customers living with a mental health problem said dealing with their finances makes them feel anxious, with nearly one in ten (9%) admitting to ignoring calls from people to whom they owe money.

Many people feel embarrassed to admit they need debt help. But we all face our own challenges in life, and anyone can experience money worries. Once you take that first step and ask for support, you may be surprised at the help that’s available and being able to see a way forward may have a positive knock-on effect on your mental health. Four out of five of our customers said speaking to us reduced their stress levels. Trevor was desperate by the time he turned to us but after taking our advice, things are looking up.

Trevor’s situation

When Trevor got in touch with us, he owed £24,000 that he couldn’t afford to pay back and was being threatened with legal action. Since losing his job, Trevor was surviving on benefits and was struggling to afford the basics such as food and heating.

What Trevor said


It can be extremely nerve-racking speaking to a stranger about debt. There’s often a sense of embarrassment and a fear that you’ll be judged. But after taking the plunge and making that first call, Trevor was struck by how sensitive his adviser was to his needs. He said:


“They work through with you at your tempo, understanding your level [of] needs whether they be mental health, learning difficulties or something else. These people are very patient and also professional.


“Very determined staff.”


What we did for Trevor


We went through Trevor’s finances with a fine-tooth comb, making sure he didn’t feel pressured or rushed. After carefully considering his situation and long-term financial wellbeing, we recommended bankruptcy. Trevor is now looking at the prospect of having most of his debt written off and being able to make a fresh start.


About bankruptcy


If you can’t afford to pay your debts and the amount you owe is more than your possessions are worth, you might be able to declare yourself bankrupt.


Bankruptcy usually lasts for 12 months and, when it ends, your unsecured debts (credit cards, overdrafts, loans etc.) are written off. You may have to make payments towards your debts during the bankruptcy but only if you can really afford to. Crucially, your creditors have to stop chasing you for payment.


Declaring yourself bankrupt is not something to be taken lightly. It isn’t suitable for everyone – a debt adviser will be able to tell you if it’s the right way forward for you. You should also bear in mind that it will have a serious impact on your credit rating.


If you own your home, you may have to sell up and put that money towards covering your debts. You may also have to sell other non-essential possessions. When applying for future jobs or credit, you may have to reveal that you’ve been made bankrupt. And you have to pay to declare yourself bankrupt. The current cost in England and Wales is £680. It costs a similar amount in Northern Ireland, but the exact figure will depend on your situation.


So, as you can see, there’s a lot to think about before deciding on bankruptcy. If it’s something you’re considering, a debt adviser will run through all the pros and cons and help you work out what’s best for you.


Are money worries affecting your mental health?

If money worries are damaging your mental wellbeing or living with a mental health problem is making it difficult for you to manage your money, our guide on money and mental health includes information that might help. And if you need support sorting out your finances, do what Trevor did and get in touch for free debt advice.


Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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