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Debt and mental health

When debts aren’t the only things on your mind

Mental health and money management can sometimes be two sides of the same coin. For Sarah, her mental health led to her missing payments, which added to her anxiety.

This story shows typical customer situations and how banks can help. You’re not alone – we’re here to help you.

Sarah’s story

Two years ago Sarah was diagnosed with a mental health condition that means her mood and mental wellbeing fluctuates. During periods of poor mental health, Sarah sometimes spends money impulsively on things that she later feels that she doesn’t really want or need and also lacks the energy to check her balances. Sarah tends to put everything off and tells herself she will do it later when she’s feeling better.

When Sarah next came to check her account balance, she saw that she had spent more than she had expected and began to feel overwhelmed – she had already missed a Council Tax payment and there wasn’t enough money left for her other household bills. The thought of not being able to make ends meet caused her to have a panic attack and she didn’t know where to go for help.

It was Sarah’s brother who convinced her to get in touch with us. He had spotted Sarah had started putting her food shop on her credit card and he could sense she was worried about her finances. Sarah told her brother she didn’t want any personal contact, so he suggested to Sarah that she contact the bank through a live chat service which, for some banks, is available 24/7.

Sarah’s next steps

When Sarah contacted her bank, she took time to explain things in her own words. She was surprised at the support she received.

Sarah’s bank explained how self-service tools offer customers an increased level of control over their spending by enabling customers to:

  • Change the daily amount of money they can take out of cash machines or switch off cash withdrawals altogether
  • Control whether their card can be used to make payments online, in-app or over the phone
  • Stop their card from being used with certain types of retailers like gambling or premium-rate websites and phone lines
  • Control whether card payments can be made in shops, restaurants or retailers abroad
  • Apply a temporary freeze, if they’ve misplaced their card, or would like to switch off their spending to stop it from being used
  • View their PIN securely in the app if they have memory difficulties
  • Keep on top of their finances through a suite of Text alerts
  • Self-service tools can vary between banks

Does your situation sound like Sarah’s?

Does your mental health make it hard for you to keep on top of your finances? Help’s always at hand.

As soon as you feel like you might be getting into some financial difficulties, talk to your bank – it could help make things better.

To prepare for the conversation, have some information about your financial situation ready, including your income and outgoings. The chat could take a while, as your bank will want to understand your situation in detail, so make sure you set aside some time.

If you’re a Barclays customer, here are some numbers you can reach us from.

  • Mortgages – 0333 202 7492. Lines are open Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm
  • Barclaycard – 0800 046 8324. Lines are open every day from 9am to 9pm
  • Overdraft and Barclayloan – 0345 600 4545. Lines are open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm
  • Premier – 08009 247 365. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Don’t want to talk in person? You can use our secure web chat in your Barclays app
  • Self-employed or have a business? Get some support.

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Free help and advice

If you’ve got more financial commitments than you can manage or have debt with other creditors, contact National Debtline or StepChange for free advice on the phone or online.

If you need to see somebody in person, contact Citizens Advice.

How close are you to a debt problem?

If you’re concerned about your finances, try StepChange Debt Charity’s 60-second debt test – a few simple questions will tell you if you need advice and where to get it.

These services can provide further help and support

  • NHS Live Well – advice and support for those struggling with illness
  • Entitledto – for specialist benefits advice
  • Money Advice Service – for free impartial information and tools on how to deal with your money
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