On Thursday 12th May 2022, VOX Scotland Manager Wendy McAuslan gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee on debt and mental health.
This session formed part of the Committee’s inquiry into low income and debt problems and featured contributions from a range of mental health organisations including VOX Scotland, Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), Mental Health UK, and Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.
VOX Scotland’s evidence centred the experiences of our members, with Wendy highlighting the barriers they have faced to accessing services and what needs to change to provide effective support for those who are in debt and have mental health problems.
It is essential, Wendy asserted, for clinicians and health staff to be able to identify issues around debt and economic rights, in addition to mental health symptoms, so that everyone can access the full breadth of services they need.
Crucially, support must always go beyond simply providing information – everyone should have the wraparound support required to navigate decision-making processes, advocate for service access, and maximise incomes.
And, of course, there must be significant and immediate efforts to address the structural issues which pull people into debt in the first place, including rising bills and housing costs, un- and under- employment, low-paid and precarious work, and insufficient social security levels.
You can watch the Committee session on the Scottish Parliament website here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/social-justice-and-social-security-committee-may-12-2022