'Mental Health and Money', released today by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), was created after detailed consultation with experts in both fields.
It’s being supported by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Citizens Advice, along with Adferiad Recovery in Wales, MindWise in Northern Ireland and Scottish organisations Change Mental Health and Citizens Advice Scotland.
Money and mental health are strongly linked, with research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute showing one in five people (18%) living with a mental health problem are also in problem debt.
The guide outlines six ways in which creditors in financial services, utilities and the public sector can do more to support those who are struggling.
These include equipping staff to help, extra consideration when chasing payments and making it easier for people to get in touch when they need help.
Others include allowing affected customers to involve third parties in managing their account, more forbearance and proactively referring them to external support.
The guide also suggests how creditors can put the techniques into practice, lists resources they can use and reminds them of the relevant FCA duties that may require it.
Research from MaPS, published in October last year, also shows that people experiencing mental health problems are around one and a half times as likely to struggle with bills and credit commitments (74% compared to 50% of all UK adults).
MaPS also found that half of people with a mental health problem have less than £100 in savings, while over a third have none at all, leaving them without a crucial safety net if they do fall into financial difficulty.
According to MaPS, people who find themselves in financial difficulty should seek the help and guidance they need as soon as possible. The guide aims to show creditors how they can assist their customers with that journey.