Helen Clarke, Partnership Manager at PayPlan, explains how debt can impact mental health and wellbeing, and how this can link to performance at work.
For mental health awareness week, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask our clients how being in debt impacted their mental health. You can have a look at the full results on our shareable infographic. What really stood out for me were two things.
Firstly, how our clients spoke about not just the impact being in debt has on their home life, but secondly, how money worries seep into their performance at work. PayPlan works in partnership with a number of Employee Assistant Programmes (EAP) to provide a service where employees can get free, FCA regulated debt advice through their work.
But how do employees who don’t have access to an EAP programme access advice? Or if they do have access to an EAP, are they fully aware of what getting free debt advice through this journey means?
The benefits of an Employee Assistant Programme
EAPs are completely confidential. They support employees to deal with a range of work-life stresses, from family to legal issues – and, in most cases, financial concerns.
They are often provided by employers, so it’s really worthwhile for everyone to make sure they know what benefits they are entitled to from their workplace. I see so many fab tools when I’m out and about and debt advice really is in a lot of workplaces already, they just need to be made use of.
Debt and mental health – before and after
What really stood out for me in the client survey were the comments they gave to questions about ‘how I felt after seeking PayPlan’s advice’ and ‘what tips would you give to someone in debt’. It was so lovely to scroll through a sea of ‘get in touch with PayPlan’ ‘PayPlan changed my life’ over and over.
The majority of people said that now feel confident in managing their money (95%). This is key for me, because PayPlan isn’t just about supporting people to become debt-free. Yes it is that, but it is also helping people to become financial capable. Our advisers really work with clients on an individual basis to help them to get in control of their spending habits, and those lessons will stay with them for years to come.
PayPlan’s online journey
Over two thirds of people who we surveyed said they found our online journey to be beneficial for their mental health – and a few of the comments specifically said this was because it gave them time to fill in and digest information in their own time and get together the information they were asked for.
I think it’s important to be flexible and to fit around different lifestyles and contact preferences. Which is why when I’m on the road, I give our partners as many referral options as is suitable for them like a bespoke hot key number or web form. So, whether it’s their customers, employees or members, individuals can get the support they need in the right way so that they can join the 93% of our clients who said that their mental wellbeing improved and stress levels reduced after seeking PayPlan’s free debt advice.
Support your employees today
We recently launched free resources for employers to signpost to free debt support with PayPlan. This was after attending the Health and Wellbeing at Work conference and speaking to a number of employers about what they wanted to offer in terms of financial advice, but weren’t sure how to.
Have a look at our toolkit. You can use as many or as few elements from this as is right for you – but essentially there are posters, social media images and suggested text to pop on your intranet. They direct employees through to a tracked PayPlan web link or to our Freephone number.
If you’d like to set up a more bespoke referral method – or if you have any questions about how to use the resources then please get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org.