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Mental Health and Money Advice: Evaluation of a joined up service

What is this research?

Research shows that people who experience mental health problems are more likely to struggle with money. The reverse is also true, people who experience money problems have a higher chance of having issues with their mental health. Despite this, there is a lack of services offering support to individuals struggling to cope with these two topics combined.

Mental Health & Money Advice (MHMA) was developed to fill this gap and help people who are struggling with both money and mental health problems. The service operates across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and consists of a website and a telephone advice line. The website provides information, the advice line provides casework and is accessible by referral only. Suitable clients receive specialist casework related to debt or welfare, and help accessing mental health services and support. Some clients receive help with more than one of these issues. Clients also include families and carers who are calling on behalf of someone else.

How is McPin involved?

The McPin Foundation were commissioned to complete an independent evaluation of the service. The aim was to assess the impact of the website and telephone advice line on the clients’ mental health and money situation between January 2018 and January 2019. The evaluation was designed to capture the way in which the service impacts on the lives of people who use it.

How is experiential knowledge being used?

A project-specific steering group was set up which included people with experience of mental health and money problems. The steering group provided input and advised on project decisions. Researchers from McPin drew on the experiences of the telephone advisors, as well as their own experience of mental health problems to design and deliver the evaluation.

What is the current status of the project?

The evaluation ended in March 2019. It showed that MHMA is valued by its clients, especially those who receive the case work over the phone. There is evidence that using the phone service results in increased wellbeing and confidence managing money. Our qualitative work revealed that people valued having a single person within MHMA who they could speak to about their case, who would then deal with outside agencies themselves. Some clients had debts written off or welfare reinstated after appeal. People also mentioned that they felt more able to seek help in future.

Download the project report:

Read a blog about the impact of the service on people’s lives here. Download an infographic summarising the results of the evaluation:

Where can I find more information?

Find out more on the Mental Health and Money Advice website.

To speak to a researcher about the evaluation, please email danrobotham@mcpin.org