If a mentally ill person is not able to work or earn what they did in the past, there may be money in meeting basic needs even with good money management. Many times mentally ill individuals do not make good financial choices.
A lot of people when depressed will buy “things” in an effort to feel better. Many times they purchases are extravagant and not even appropriate to their needs or life style. For example a housewife who rarely gets dressed up buying evening gowns and high heels.
Oft times making this type of financial decisions makes it impossible to provide for the essentials of food, shelter, medical care, etc. It can also contribute to legal problems from overdrafts, bad check charges, bankruptcy and so on.
Giving loans or bailing the person out continuously does not help them face the reality of their decisions. All it does in the end is drain your reserves and make them expect to be “bailed out” no matter what problems their choices cause.
Rather than giving money, buy their groceries or medicines. If the person is incapable of using their monies for their basic needs, have someone payee for their checks or become guardian or conservator through the court. However, be aware how much independence this takes away from the person. They may become angry, combative, fearful, or more depressed or paranoid if they feel they have no control over this part of their life. As much as possible, have them involved in deciding how to use their monies for their needs AND wants.
The more resistant the person is to having a payee the more imperative it is to have someone other than the emotionally supportive parties handle the funds. It is hard to be a positive support if there is constant disagreement over financial decisions.