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Multiple long-term conditions

Offering debt advice to patients receiving therapy in South London

We are working in partnership with King’s College London, therapists and debt advisors to develop a new intervention that combines psychological therapy with money advice.

Key partnership information

Partners: King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation TrustMoney and Mental Health Policy Institute and Citizens Advice 

Development grant amount: £204,000

Pilot duration:  September 2020 – March 2022

Programme: Multiple long-term conditions 

 

What we’re doing together

We have partnered with King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience to trial a new intervention combining psychological therapy and money advice for people in South London. 

Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) is a major NHS programme that provides accessible mental health treatment for around 1 million people every year across the UK. It supports people experiencing mild to moderate depression or anxiety, medically unexplained symptoms such as dizziness, pain and chronic fatigue and people that have a long-term physical condition. 

Depending on their circumstances, people living in Lambeth and Southwark are offered individual guided self-help, talking therapy, mindfulness training or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  

We know that people’s finances, mental and physical health can influence each other, and people living with long-term health conditions are also more likely to live with ‘problematic’ debt. Through this partnership, we’re exploring how we can tackle this dual burden. 

IAPT therapists, money and debt advisors and a focus group of existing IAPT patients at the end of their treatment will come together to design an intervention that combines incorporates money advice into the existing service.  

By acting on the financial circumstances of people living with depression or anxiety, our aim is to increase their options to manage their health, and reduce risks of developing multiple long-term conditions.

Aims of the partnership

Through this project, we hope to increase early uptake of financial advice, to help patients that are receiving talking therapy to avoid debt crises and in turn, improve mental health outcomes. 

Depending on the results of the feasibility project, we hope to pilot the integrated model locally. 

Connection to our strategy

We know that people’s financial, physical and psychological health are connected, People living with the dual burden of long-term health conditions and financial ill-health are less likely to have the ‘bandwidth’ to deal with financial and health decisions because of the immense pressures and stress they already face every day. Without a safety net to cope with sudden drops in income or unexpected expenses, financial worries can have a significant impact on people’s mental and physical health. 

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that around a quarter of IAPT patients across the UK have unmanageable debt, but only 6% of them are signposted to specialist financial advice. Meanwhile, those that experience debt are almost half as likely to recover from the mental health conditions that they were originally referred to IAPT for. 

We expect the project to help meet two challenges: symptoms of depression and anxiety can deter people from engaging with debt advisors, and people need confidence and trust to engage with debt advice preventatively rather than when they reach a financial crisis.  

By acting on the financial circumstances of people living with depression or anxiety, our aim is to increase their options to manage their health, and reduce risks of developing multiple long-term conditions.  

Erel Onojobi

Have questions on our work addressing finances and health?

Erel is our Portfolio Manager, leading our work on financial health.

Contact Erel to find out more