PayPlan offer free, simple debt advice to anyone who needs it. Whilst we’ve grown a lot since our creation as a family-owned company in 1992, our mission has remained the same – to help people become debt-free through clear, honest advice and debt solutions that work. Since we started PayPlan almost 32 years ago we’ve helped over 1 million people to become debt-free, and every year we help over 100,000 more people with their finances – something we’re immensely proud of.

When you come to us for debt advice, we’ll show you all the different debt solutions that are out there so you’ve got a clear idea of what your options are, and how each one could help you. We can also advise you on what the best solution is for your circumstances, plus any other options that might work for you.
If you’d like, we can set up a debt solution that fixes your situation, lowers your repayments and gives you the chance to move forward with your life the way it should be: without debt being part of it.
On the other hand, you can just come to us for advice about how best to deal with your debts, then take some time to decide what you want to do next. Whether you’re just looking for some debt advice you can trust or want to get into a solution straight away, our help is free to everyone, and doesn’t have any obligations, strings attached or hidden costs.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

At Payplan, we know the impact that financial worries and debt can have on mental health, which can lead to suicidal thoughts and Ideation. Our staff are trained to spot the indicators and react appropriately to client disclosures, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to support the client through difficult circumstances. We aim to ensure that access to our free debt advice service is available to everyone, and we have many communication methods in place, including live chat, WhatsApp and even sign video to support the deaf community using BSL as their preferred language. We know through client surveys that having access to debt advice through a digital channel helps to remove the barriers and stigma attached to debt and mental health, and ultimately encourages people to reach out for help sooner rather than later. These recent survey results demonstrate this:

– Pre-advice experience How worried were you about your debts?  –  the average ‘worry rating’ was 9/10 Has being in debt negatively impacted your mental wellbeing? – 94% said yes

– Post advice experience 100% of clients are now less worried about their debts. 90% of clients say their mental wellbeing has now improved.

We have many strategies in place for our staff to escalate high risk clients, so that safeguarding processes can be administered, including a crisis support functionality on our colleague Intranet which contains a recognised conversation model to have with clients to establish the immediate risk, and further procedures to access – including contacting emergency services.

What are your current priorities?

At PayPlan our priorities include a continuous drive to improve access to debt advice and break down the barriers associated with debt, which ultimately has a huge impact on mental health. This is demonstrated by the recent BSI inclusive service accreditation awarded for our service. We know that having professional support for a mental health condition running in parallel with debt advice plays a part in achieving a positive outcome for our clients, so our priority is to develop a robust network of external partners that can support our clients with those wider support needs. PayPlan have an extensive network of partners for exactly this reason, and we currently work with over 85 organisations to provide that professional layer of support – but we don’t want to stop there. We continue to build on this robust network not only to support our clients having suicidal thoughts accessing our service but to ensure that many organisations supporting their communities with suicidal ideation and mental health issues, can make those direct referrals into our service – so having that reciprocal approach in place.

What challenges are you currently facing?

The cost of living crisis is driving more clients to access debt advice, which is really positive, but it also means as a consequence, we have seen a sharp increase in the amount of vulnerable clients that are disclosing sensitive information to our advisers  – including an increase in suicidal thoughts and ideation being discussed. Due to this one of the challenges we are facing is the impact on out staff and the risk of vicarious trauma. At PayPlan we have recognised this and now have an extensive colleague wellbeing programme in place. This includes wellbeing champions, mental health first aiders, a wellbeing room, safeguarding training, wellbeing events and emotional resilience training.