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FLA and Citizens Advice advise Brits on mental health and debt problems

16th November 2005

The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) and Citizens Advice have teamed up to improve the advice and support offered by finance providers to those with mental health difficulties and debt problems.

With an estimated one in six people experiencing mental health problems at some stage in their lives, the two organisations have launched a new package of information for lenders, which includes a DVD.

The information pack outlines what lenders can do to ensure they respond "sensitively, appropriately and fairly" to those suffering from mental health problems in financial difficulty.

The film, 'Money Worries', illustrates how the stress and anxiety of losing a job or going through a divorce can lead to deterioration in the mental health of many people, causing difficulties, especially in managing finances and debt.

Martin Hall, FLA director general, explained: "All lenders should behave responsibly and that is particularly important as far as vulnerable customers are concerned. We are not suggesting in this video that finance providers become doctors or second guess if people have problems. It's about being aware that not all customers are the same and dealing with problems in a positive and sympathetic way."

The information package also addresses how lenders can best raise awareness with front-line staff and those engaged in debt collection and it is available from FLA for £50 for members and £75 for non-members. Contributions to the film, presented by financial broadcaster Sara Coburn, came from the Money Advice Trust, MIND, Experian, Bank of Scotland, Bristol University, Citizens Advice and the FLA.