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People with mental health problems 'exposed to potential financial abuse'

File photo dated 09/03/15 of a woman with her head in her hands. People with mental health problems are being exposed to potential financial abuse because existing tools for sharing financial decision-making are inadequate, a charity claims. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 16, 2019. Two-fifths (43%) of people with mental health problems have let someone else use their credit or debit card, and a fifth (19%) do so on a weekly basis, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which was set up by consumer champion Martin Lewis. See PA story MONEY MentalHealth. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

People with mental health problems are being exposed to potential financial abuse because existing tools for sharing financial decision-making are inadequate, a charity claims.

Two-fifths (43%) of people with mental health problems have let someone else use their credit or debit card, and a fifth (19%) do so on a weekly basis, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which was set up by consumer champion Martin Lewis.

It said many people with mental health problems are resorting to "risky quick-fixes" to get support from friends and families, which are leaving both them and their carers vulnerable to fraud or legal difficulties.

A fifth (20%) of people who have experienced a mental health problem have let someone log into their online banking, and 15% do so each week, a survey of over 2,000 people found.

In a separate survey by the charity of over 250 people with mental health problems who have received help, less than a quarter (24%) said they have safe ways to give someone else access to their accounts.

Money and Mental Health said the next Prime Minister should reform the power of attorney system, making support for carers and people with mental health problems a priority.

Helen Undy, chief executive of Money and Mental Health, said: "When you're struggling with your mental health, getting help from family and friends to manage money can make the difference between staying on top of your finances or falling into serious debt.

"But the current power of attorney system just doesn't meet the needs of many people with fluctuating mental health problems, who want to share some decisions, some of the time - without feeling as though they are giving away total control.

"Faced with a system that doesn't meet their needs, people are relying on risky workarounds to access this support, like sharing Pins and passwords, which expose them to fraud and abuse."

More than 2,000 people were surveyed.

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