Helen Undy,  Director, Money and Mental Health

Money and Mental Health’s 2018 in numbers

21 December 2018

As the year draws to a close, our team has taken a little time to reflect on all that we’ve done together. We couldn’t have achieved these successes alone, so we wanted to share with you a few of our highlights  – and some numbers to illustrate the impact they’ve had. Most of all, we want to thank you for all your support in another exciting year.


This is the number that will stick in my head from 2018. 100,000 is the number of people who attempt to take their own lives in England each year while struggling with problem debts. That’s 100,000 brothers, mums, sisters, dads and partners whose lives may be cut short. This month we launched our campaign to stop the #DebtThreats – calling for the government to scrap the outdated, intimidating and confusing language that lenders are forced to include in letters to people in debt, leaving many feeling as though there is no way out.


That’s (approximately) the number of words in our six major policy reports published this year. They covered issues from rent arrears to sick pay, informal borrowing to mental health crises and suicide. Our research made headline news with over 50 pieces of national media coverage, was presented at major conferences, and has been thrust into the hands of Ministers. But most importantly, it’s already started to change lives.


That’s the number of policy blogs we’ve produced, along with 13 consultation responses, commenting on a tumultuous and eventful year. 2018 has seen a Consumer Green Paper, Mental Health Act Review, the FCA’s work on high cost credit, the Mental Health Act Review, a Social Housing Green paper, the ongoing roll-out of Universal Credit, and then very nearly, but not quite, a 10-year plan for the NHS. Together with a wise team of guest bloggers, we’ve given the mental health angle on the financial events of the year, and the consumer angle on all things mental health.


That’s the number of people in our Research Community who shaped our work this year. They shared their lived experiences of mental health problems through 26 individual surveys, and through supporting two major national campaigns. This helped us secure 13,000 petition signatures and the backing of 22 national charities. We are enormously grateful to every single one of those 5,000 people.


That’s the number of essential services firms (from banks to energy companies and broadband providers) who worked with us over the summer to help us develop the first set of accessibility standards for mental health. We were selected by Nesta and the Cabinet Office to be one of 18 organisations whose initiatives were scaled as part of the Government’s Inclusive Economy Partnership – an accelerator programme for social impact. Together we’ve built something we’re very proud of, and we can’t wait to launch it next year.


But the most important numbers of all are these:


  • 23,000 – the number of people in hospital due to a mental health crisis each year in England, who will benefit from the debt respite that we managed to secure through our Recovery Space campaign
  • 3 – the number of banks that implemented our gambling block this year, with the potential to help millions of customers
  • 1 – the number of times mental health is mentioned in the Government’s Consumer Green Paper. But what an important mention it was – securing a commitment to a set of minimum standards, setting out what people with mental health problems should expect across regulated markets like banking and energy
  • 5 – the number of organisations that joined us in raising concerns with the Financial Conduct Authority about their proposed new definition of ‘vulnerability’, which we felt disadvantaged people with mental health problems. And 8 was the number of months between us starting our joint campaign and the FCA announcement back-tracking on its plans in response.


And finally, 10. That’s the size of the team at Money and Mental Health, or the equivalent of 8 people full-time. It’s a lot for a small team to have done in 228 working days, but that’s because we really didn’t do it all on our own. Thank you for all your support this year – we hope we can count on it again in 2019 (pun absolutely intended). Merry Christmas, and wishing you all the best for the year to come.