Money Wellness
Someone places a comforting hand on a man's back
category icondebts
category iconMoney Wellness
calendar icon10 Oct 2023

World Mental Health Day: Michael’s story

Sometimes unexpected events in our lives can leave us reeling. And poor mental health caused by those events can have a knock-on impact on our finances. Those money worries can then make existing mental health problems even worse. And suddenly we find ourselves in a vicious circle of mental health struggles and debt.

There is help available though. So, to mark World Mental Health Day, we’re sharing some of our customers’ stories to show that asking for help is often the first step to a more hopeful future.

Michael’s story

Losing his job and splitting up with his girlfriend hit Michael hard. His mental health struggles had a knock-on effect on his finances and he soon found he could no longer afford to pay his debts.

After an IVA with another company didn’t work out, Michael was feeling desperate by the time he turned to us.

Our recommendation

After going through Michael’s finances, we found the money he had left over after covering his essential living costs was nowhere near enough to cover his debt repayments. Michael isn’t a homeowner and he doesn’t have any possessions of much worth, so we were able to recommend a debt relief order (DRO).

This means Michael’s unsecured debts of about £5,000 will be frozen for a year. If his situation doesn’t improve in that time, those debts will be written off.

Michael’s verdict

“I have been really struggling with my mental health and my finances took a massive hit. I spoke to Melanie and, unlike my previous IVA company, she actually listened to everything that I had to say and gave me a solution to my problems.

“I now feel like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

“I really cannot thank her enough for not only giving me the amount of compassion she gave me but for making me see that there is actually a light at the end of the tunnel and more importantly, by the end of the phone call, she made my life worth living.”

Could a DRO help you?

A DRO is just one of a range of solutions we offer customers struggling with problem debt.

When you contact us for help, we’ll look at your finances in detail and let you know which, if any, debt solutions are suitable for your situation.

DROs are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A DRO may be suitable for you if, like Michael:

  • you owe £30,000 or less
  • you’re not a homeowner
  • you don’t own anything of much value
  • you have very little spare money at the end of the month

A DRO lasts 12 months. After that time, if your situation hasn’t improved, the debts included in your DRO are written off.

During your DRO, lenders aren’t allowed to chase you to pay.

The Insolvency Service charge a £90 fee for a DRO. This is a lot cheaper than the cost of going bankrupt.

Before applying for a DRO, it’s important to bear in mind that it will stay on your credit file for six years. You’re likely to find it difficult to borrow from mainstream lenders during that time.

You also need to be aware that if your financial situation improves during the 12 months, your DRO will end and you’ll need to arrange to repay your debts.

Want to find out how we can help you?

To get help with your debts, you can either complete our online advice journey at a time and place to suit you. Or you can ring us on 0161 518 8285. We’re here Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and over the weekend between 10am and 4pm.

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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