More advisers are aware of mental health and discuss it with their clients when talking about protection, Lisa Martin, development director at TMA Mortgage Club, has seen.
This follows a presentation on mental health by Aviva at TMA Mortgage Club’s national conference.
Martin (pictured) said: “We’re seeing more awareness and discussion on mental health.
“We’ve seen more advisers talking about mental health more and there’s more recognition, which is really good. This is another reason for people to buy income protection and why it’s needed.
“People can get help and support with mental health, but it doesn’t mean when off work for mental health issues that they get paid much or paid at all. So, people don’t need the strain of trying to afford bills while struggling with mental health issues.
“If you signed up for income protection mental health should be covered. It’s that unspoken condition which people don’t want to talk about and feel embarrassed. It’s really good there’s a lot more recognition about it.”
Martin said TMA Club’s workshops show advisers how to talk to clients who may have mental health issues.
She added: “If you’re sat in front of a borrower who may have health issues, the adviser might not want to approach it. I think there’s a softer, more emotional way of approaching it rather than with hard hitting facts.
“It’s about education. There’s market uncertainty and we need to ensure customers are looked after.
“I think its great advisers are recognising mental health and borrowers are receiving help from income protection.”
Ben Whatling, underwriting governance and relationship manager for health and protection at Aviva, said mental health, work and money are inextricably linked.
He said: “The association between finance and mental illness is something we’re becoming increasingly aware of, with many sufferers perhaps finding themselves trapped in a cycle where they’re too unwell to work, leaving them financially vulnerable, which in turn can cause their well-being to deteriorate even further.
“This is precisely the pressure point in a person’s life where income protection insurance can provide a valuable financial safety net.
“If someone is unable to work through mental ill-health, income protection ensures a regular monthly income to help cover the cost of mortgage payments and other household bills, leaving that person to concentrate on getting well and not worrying about money.
“Mortgage advisers can play an important role in raising awareness of the support that is possible with income protection, but also more broadly through other protection policies.
“Many also offer some form of mental health support, such as counselling from the day the customer takes out their policy, so acting as a means of prevention to help customers and their families avoid mental ill-health impacting their employment, finance or wellbeing.
“Mental health may not feel like a typical conversation to have with a client, but with recognition of it on the rise, the time is right for advisers to start raising understanding of the vital support income protection can offer.”
TMA Club has a protection campaign running all summer with the first part teaching advisers about the added benefits of protection, such as a second medical opinion.