'Space from money worries', a new computer program developed by Silver Cloud Health, looks set to help fill in the much needed gap to provide support for 6.9 million people fighting cashflow problems.
A majority of NHS mental healthcare providers will use the program, launched today.
“Research shows that financial difficulties and mental health problems are linked by psychological factors. As a psychologist I can't get rid of their debt, but I can tackle the rumination hopelessness which turns debt into depression. This is what Space from Money Worries aims to do: break the psychological links which keep people trapped; Help people face their financial fears so they can feel more in control; enable them to be more balanced in their thinking when they are catastrophising about what might happen because they overspent; help them connect with what matters to them most when the worst case scenarios do occur.” Dr Thomas Richardson, Clinical Psychologist
Financial issues and mental health are a growing issue globally, and with over 8million people in the UK alone struggling with debt there’s no wonder that a resolution is desperately needed.
A meta-analysis (Richardson et al) found a significant relationship between debt and negative health outcomes such as drug and alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety along with suicidal attempts and completion. Research has shown that those in debt are three times more like to have a mental health problem.
The program has been designed to help individuals to overcome financial struggles where they will feel comfortable to proceed and complete.
“It will help individuals to learn skills to challenge negative thoughts about finance, learn about avoidance behaviour and feel more confident about facing financial fears."
It does this through cognitive behavioural therapy, (CBT), in which an individual will learn about the relationship their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and emotions have on their own financial vicious cycles.
Challenging beliefs perceived as irrational will be a big component in this therapy, supporting the individual to recognise their own unhelpful thinking patterns about money.
CBT techniques have proven successful in face-to-face therapy for many people over the years, with high recovery rates established.
Reaching the isolated
Silver Cloud Health feel the move to technology will play a vital role in improving outcomes around both the complex financial challenges and the mental health struggles that come along with debt.
The organisation aims to reach people who might be too anxious to go out of their houses to meet with a therapist or go to debt advice appointments.
- See also: One in six people with money problems have had suicidal thoughts
- See also: Why is it so humiliating to talk about our money worries?
The program will be made available to their customer base that includes 60% of NHS mental healthcare providers.The service will be free and users will be able to access it by self-referring to their local NHS service, or via a GP referral.
The program has also attracted the attention of financial service industries, who want to offer it to vulnerable customers.
How does this story make you feel? Do you feel this technology will be useful? Contribute your thoughts during our live Twitter discussion on Wednesday 18th July from 12pm UK time using #MHTchat.