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Money anxiety can be a nightmare. Our partnership can help.

Christine Schauerman
MFT’s Christine explained our Financial Wellbeing service on BBC Surrey.

Money anxiety is disrupting more lives than ever. With the cost of essentials high and still rising families are finding it hard to make ends meet.

The unhappy result is more of us facing mental health problems.

In early 2023 this development called for a new service to help clients with money and mental health issues. Mary Frances Trust (MFT) and Citizens Advice in Epsom & Ewell and Surrey Heath joined forces to respond.

Recently Christine Schauerman, MFT Programme Manager, was on the radio* talking about the Financial and Wellbeing Support Service. In conversation with James Cannon (on Budget Day!) she explained the need and how the teams from each group work together. Here are some key points.

Christine said: ‘We found out that almost everybody with a mental health issue has some sort of financial concern and definitely the other way around’.

Summarising clients’ issues she pointed to domestic abuse rising with tension when money is tight. The rising cost of mortgages is making a huge difference to people. Dealing with problem debt can mean using a food bank: ‘People you would never have thought of needing to use them as food is the last thing on their agenda’. So often the result is anxiety and depression.

Two-charity partnership

Of the two-charity partnership Christine said: ‘It works well because people phone Citizens Advice where they won’t phone us…..And the Citizens Advice support worker can talk to clients about how we can work as well’.

‘We are trying to lower the stigma around mental health so we are networking in many places where people may not expect to find a mental health charity.

‘We do things like display at job centres and places like that where we’re very visible. We talk about this project and other work we do and hope that they will come and talk. The partnership with Citizens Advice is key to this project.’

* BBC Surrey 06/03/24 James Cannon 0715-0720

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