Urgent assistance needed as 2.8 million people with mental health problems end up in the community’s tax debt, the charity says


    According to the charity, people with mental health problems are three times more likely to fall behind, while two in five suffered a decline in income. The MMHPI also found that three out of ten had to cut essentials like food and heating last year to make ends meet.

    A nationwide survey conducted by Opinium found that people with mental health problems were three times more likely to get into tax arrears than the general population (18% versus 6%).

    Common symptoms of mental health problems, including memory loss and decreased focus, can make it difficult for people to understand council tax issues and engage with local authorities, explains the MMHPI.

    For more information on the help available if you’re having trouble paying your bills, see our council tax guide.

    People with mental health problems have a harder time getting tax assistance from the community

    MMHPI’s research has also shown that people with mental health problems faced significant barriers to accessing community tax bill assistance during the pandemic. It turned out:

    • A worrying number of people with mental health problems have missed financial support measures related to the pandemic. While 18% of people with a mental health problem were behind with their community tax bill, only 5% took repayment leave. Many found the application process too difficult or simply did not know that this support was available.
    • Disclosing a mental health issue to the councils can be extremely difficult and stressful. Respondents indicated that they often have to report their mental health problems to different council teams several times because the information exchange between council departments is inconsistent. This exacerbates the hardship many people are already experiencing.
    • When people reveal a mental health problem, many don’t get additional help. More than one in three (37%) people who reported a mental health problem to their counselor said they were not offered additional services or support, such as: B. more time to pay off debts or the opportunity to speak to a specialist.

    “More government and council support needed”

    The MMHPI is now calling on the central government to increase funding for local authorities to help them provide better financial support to residents struggling to pay municipal taxes. The charity also urges councils to make it easier for people with poor mental health to assist with council tax by:


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