Chosen Charity

Hafal is one of the four charities which form Mental Health UK, a network of four national charities working across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to improve the lives of people with mental illness, and to support carers.

Together the four founding member organisations, Rethink Mental Illness, Support In Mind Scotland, Hafal, and MindWise, have worked for over 40 years to provide services, information, and advice to support anyone affected by mental illness.

We run over 400 services and 200 volunteer support groups in communities around the UK. Over 90,000 people rely on our organisations every year to help them get through crises, live independently and realise they are not alone. Last year our health information was accessed online over 3.6 million times.

Despite this extensive work we know many more people need our help. Mental illness affects more people every year than cancer or heart disease. One in four of us in the UK will be affected by a mental health problem in any given year. Severe mental illness can affect anyone, although it often emerges during adolescence or in your early 20s.

Living with a mental health condition can affect many aspects of your daily life, from your physical health to your home, your work and managing money. The impact of poor mental health can be reduced if you benefit from early intervention and support. But it’s still the case that you’re more likely to receive the urgent support you need if you have broken your leg than if you experience a crisis because of a mental health problem.

By supporting Mental Health UK, you can help us change this.

Find out more about the Mental Health UK partnership and it’s work at: https://www.mentalhealth-uk.org

Organisations we are working with:

Lloyds Banking Group launched a new two-year partnership with Mental Health UK in January 2017. Through this partnership, Lloyds Banking Group aims to promote awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, encourage discussion between customers and colleagues and raise at least £2million per year in offices and branches across the UK.

Through this partnership, Lloyds Banking Group will work with Mental Health UK to create a pioneering Mental Health and Money Advice Service which will offer support for people experiencing both mental health and financial difficulties.

Hafal’s Chief Executive Alun Thomas said: “We are delighted to be delivering a bilingual Mental Health and Money Advice Service in Wales as a part of Mental Health UK, in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group. We hope the new Mental Health and Money Advice Service, which launches later this year, will provide service users and carers with a lifeline, giving them the timely support they need to manage their finances.”

David Oldfield, Group Director Retail & Consumer Finance, and Executive Sponsor for Disability at Lloyds Banking Group said:

“It’s very clear to us from our colleagues how much they care about mental health and they recognise how hard this can be to discuss. I’m delighted that the Group is working with Mental Health UK to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Our colleagues feeling passionate about the issue is key to how successful we can be in working with our Charity partners and delivering the commitments we made within our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. We have a great track record of raising significant funds through our colleagues who are also very involved across their local communities. Given the importance of good mental health and wellbeing I’m confident that with the support of our colleagues we’ll be able to raise £2m this year alone to help Mental Health UK to provide support and help for those who need it”

You can read more about this initiative on the Mental Health UK website.

 

Mental Health and Money Case Study: Beth

The Mental Health and Money project aims to support people with a mental illness who have mental health difficulties. We spoke to Beth about her experience of mental illness and debt, and asked her why the Mental Health and Money project is so important.

Beth first experienced anxiety and depression when she was very young.  In 2010 she contracted glandular fever which left her feeling very depressed, not wanting to get out of bed and experiencing panic attacks.  This led to a diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression.  Beth found her issues made work challenging and subsequently had to leave.  Her family were very accepting and have supported her throughout.

Beth admits that she’s always had problems with spending.  Even as a little girl money would burn a hole in her pocket.  At university Beth found having access to all of her student loan money at once made this worse.  “It was like having disposable money.”  When Beth started work she continued to spend money she didn’t have.  “When I felt depressed, I wanted to spend money to make myself feel better.” This could be anything from buying a cup of tea to a new laptop.  Getting a credit card enabled Beth to accumulate another £4,000 of debt.  However, she avoided telling anyone, particularly her parents.

Beth describes her anxiety at that time as “horrible”.  She became obsessed with how to increase her income, felt constantly sick and was unable to sleep through worry.  Having debts felt like the end of the world.

Eventually she told her partner her big secret.  He was very kind and reassured her that they could get through this together.  Beth feels that without his understanding and help she wouldn’t have been able to deal with the situation.  Her partner created a spreadsheet to calculate Beth’s outgoings so that she would know her weekly spending limit.  Beth has also found that setting herself a weekly cash allowance has helped her keep her spending under control.  She has been surprised by how her mindset has changed when you can see how much you have available to spend.

When Beth feels down or anxious she still feels the need to spend but has the discipline to give her credit card to her partner to stop her from comfort spending.

Beth feels that her relationship with money is far better; her partner says it has improved dramatically.

Beth’s key piece of advice to others would be to confide in someone you trust. This can really take the pressure off and help you to see things more clearly.  Beth welcomes the Lloyds Banking Group and Mental Health UK initiative to support people with mental health and money problems.  She feels that this is a great opportunity to raise awareness and provide support to people who experience these combined issues.