A new welfare service offering NHS Tayside patients face-to-face advice with debt and benefits has been launched at the Carseview Centre in Dundee.
Patients on all wards will be able to access the service, which is being delivered by Brooksbank Centre and Services, to deal with any money worries whilst they are in hospital.
Once discharged patients will also receive ongoing support from the service in the community.
Advice on applying for benefits and dealing with debts will be available from a full-time member of staff who will offer help on a range of topics.
Paul Monaghan, senior manager for NHS Tayside mental health and learning disability inpatient services, said the health board is delighted to be working with Brooksbank to enhance patient care and support at Carseview.
Brooksbank is a Dundee-based charity working to reduce poverty.
“Brooksbank are contributing to the multi-disciplinary care team by providing a range of effective money advice services that help patients while receiving care and support as both inpatients and following discharge,” said Mr Monaghan.
“The innovative service being delivered addresses issues that cause anxiety and stress for our patients and directly improves outcomes for patients and their families.”
Debt advice centre funded through NHS Tayside
The service, which has been funded by NHS Tayside through the Scottish Government’s mental health outcome framework, aims to promote increased wellbeing and financial security for those accessing mental health services.
Early evaluations of the Carseview Welfare Service show that many patients have been supported to claim benefits that they didn’t know about or felt they didn’t have the confidence to deal with themselves.
I’m glad that people being supported by the Crisis Team have an easy route into money advice services.
Brooksbank Centre manager, Ginny Lawson said, “We’re delighted that we can provide a full-time worker to support inpatients and discharged patients from Carseview Centre.
“I’m also glad that people being supported by the crisis team have an easy route into money advice services.
“There is a very clear link between poor mental health and money worries and I feel that our service meets a long standing need for patients.
“Lots of advice services have growing waiting times because of the demand caused by Covid-19 so it’s vital that this group of patients has a dedicated service to support them and deal with emergency issues.”
Mental health issues make dealing with debt harder
Fay Costello, senior money adviser at Brooksbank Centre, said dealing with debts can be overwhelming and much more difficult for people with mental health issues.
“Depression, anxiety and lots of other mental health conditions are aggravated by socio-economic problems,” she said.
“The Carseview Welfare Service helps patients find out about benefits they may be entitled to or get advice on housing issues.
“Carseview Welfare Service will help in lots of practical ways in the short term but hopefully contribute to long-term improvements in people’s mental and emotional wellbeing too,” she said.