A GROUP of three charities are working together to help Taunton people with mental health issues avoid falling into spiralling debt.

The pilot scheme provides a combined service for those whose mental health is so poor they are unable to make use of existing financial, benefits and debt advice services offered by Citizens Advice.

Clients are supported by mental health charity Mind in accessing assistance from Citizens Advice.

They are directed to the latter's Taunton offices in Magdalene Street, in the town centre; Eastwick Road, in Priorswood; or in Roman Road, in the Halcon area.

The costs of the initiative are being partly met from the Taunton Aid in Sickness Fund.

A Citizens Advice spokesman said: "Just as physical illness or disability tend to leave people short of money, so too can mental health difficulties.

"Poor mental health can make it hard for people to concentrate and to see ways of solving problems, allowing finances to get out of control, benefit entitlements to go unclaimed and debts to spiral.

"Recent cuts in public spending have unfortunately reduced the support services provided by health and welfare agencies to people in their own homes and community."

He added that it is hoped that the joint project will help alleviate the problems.

"Clients receive skilled practical and moral support from Mind in accessing and acting on advice provided by Citizens Advice, and, where needed, can be seen in their own homes."

The project is already assisting clients with advice regarding bailiffs, insolvency, consumer debt issues and debts to utility companies.

The project workers will also be able to apply to TAISF for grants to help those they meet.

TAISF welcomes grant applications on behalf of people who have an illness or disability, who are also on a low income and living within a five-mile radius of Taunton town centre - for further details visit tauntonaidinsicknessfund.co.uk