A vicious circle
Posted Monday 12 December 2011
Our new research, Still in the red, shows how the financial strain over Christmas can be much worse for people with mental health problems. Guest blogger Jo describes her own struggle to make ends meet and stay well.
Hi, I’m Jo. I live with my partner Will and 19-month-old daughter, Marya. I initially experienced psychosis after the birth of my daughter.
I have dissociative disorder with psychotic episodes, OCD and severe anxiety so I can’t work at the moment, but I don’t get the benefits I should be entitled to. I am appealing the decision that I am fit to work, but currently I don’t receive any Employment and Support Allowance.
We live off my partner’s wage, which is not very high and he works over 50 hours a week, while caring for me and sharing the care of our daughter. After all our outgoings we have about £30 a week to live on, this is for food or anything we need for Marya.
It is particularly hard with the run up to Christmas as we would love to buy presents for our family, but we cannot afford to. Luckily we have a supportive family who will make sure Marya will not go without, and we have paid weekly for a few gifts for her since October.
I am trying to sort out our financial situation, but making phonecalls to the bank and all the different departments concerning benefits is a big stress for me. This is hard for anyone, but with mental health difficulties the stress can trigger a psychotic episode and panic attacks.
My local Citizens Advice Bureau has been brilliant and has given me support throughout the appeal process and helped me to understand my rights.
There, I picked up a copy of Mind’s Money and mental health booklet, which was fantastic. It had all sorts of information and advice not only for me but also Will, which helps to prioritise debts and budgeting, as well as covering benefits and useful contacts to help with anything financial.
I really hope other people will pick up this booklet as it really can give you pointers of where to start to get the support you need, and it is never too late to get that help.
Read our information on money and mental health for tips on managing your finances, and details of where to find help if you're struggling.
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