"Having his support made me realise I needed to take back control and look at my debts, not ignore them"

Think Family Money Management Outreach Client

My Outreach Worker helped me take control of my housing issues so that it wouldn’t further affect my mental health. If I didn’t have support from him I would be homeless.

It was scary being in debt, wondering who was going to turn up to my house.

I had so much going on at once I couldn’t deal with it, so I shut down. I was ignoring my debts.

As soon as I was 18 I started getting into debt with my first credit card. I’m now 28 so you can imagine the debt. I didn’t ever understand money. 

Part of my personality disorder is impulsive buying. I buy things I don’t need. I take risks I shouldn’t.

The Early Help service referred me to Southdown’s Think Family Money Management Outreach service. If I didn’t have a child, I would not have known about any of these services. 

Not once had anyone who was supporting me with my mental health, helped me with my debt. I didn’t know there were people like my Outreach Worker who could help.

It was a massive weight off my shoulders meeting him. I don’t really like opening up to people but he made it easy. He didn’t judge me.

I got so many County Court Judgements I couldn’t deal with it. I was also threatened with a Section 21 from my housing association as I couldn’t pay my rent.  That’s what mental health challenges do to you. 

With my personality disorder my mood changes rapidly. I can get really withdrawn or hyper. I’d experienced problems since I was 7 when I was first diagnosed with ADHD.

My Outreach Worker helped me take control of my housing issues so that it wouldn’t further affect my mental health. If I didn’t have support from him I would be homeless.

He’s been helping me for a couple of months. He told me what he was going to do, and what I had to do. He didn’t have much to go on as I was ripping up every piece of post that was coming through. He told me to stop doing that!

He told me to get things in writing, not to agree to anything straight away. He told me to set up payment plans and monitor my incomings and outgoings for my household budget.

He took on a lot of the work for me. He sent letters to everyone I owed money to asking them to put payments on hold. I sent medical letters to them to explain my mental health condition and four of my debts were cleared. They’ll stay on my credit file but they’re closed and they can’t chase me for it. After six years they will clear.

I had received overpayments in housing benefit and just as I was made redundant they were taking £23 a week as repayment. My Outreach Worker contacted the rent arrears department and they lowered it to a smaller amount. It took ages. He had to really chase them. But he also managed to get a £500 grant to help.

My Outreach Worker helped me change the way I looked at things. Having his support made me realise I needed to take back control and look at my debts, not ignore them. 

He taught me how to deal with debt because I didn’t know how to. My parents weren’t good with money either. I now know I can get out of debt. I know never to get a credit card or store card.

I teach my daughter a lot about money. She’s young and at the moment she thinks money grows on trees.  I teach her the value of money; how cards work; that she has to save and can’t get everything she wants straight away.

If someone was in a similar position, I’d tell them to get help. I didn’t know the service existed. If I had known it did, I’d have got help sooner.

My Outreach Worker gave me lots of information. I feel a lot more confident. I can see through scams now. I look at API now. I’m not tempted by things anymore cos I know what can happen. I know I can take it on now.

I really want to thank him for his help – he is amazing. And he’s really good at his job. He’s good with people. He’s got time. He says it how it is. He’s a people-person.

My life has changed. There have been times when I’ve felt very very suicidal but now I feel I can take on my debts - and I’ve got a new job starting soon. Having one less thing to worry about has really helped.

 

Think Family Money Management Outreach Workers work within the Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help Service (IPEH) to deliver intensive support to families. Using a holistic approach and working to an independence model, Money Management Outreach Workers offer families tailored support to explore their debt issues and identify and develop positive, sustainable solutions. Families will be supported to achieve effective change, greater control over their lives and to develop long term independence.