Man using his phone

Rose Acton, Policy and Research Officer, Money and Mental Health

A mental health tech challenge

People tell us that their financial behaviour changes for the worse during periods of poor mental health – with many spending more than they can afford, finding it difficult to communicate with banks or to stay on top of bills.

We’ve been exploring ways that financial services could help, and we’re excited to announce that as part of this work we’ve teamed up with the Financial Conduct Authority to bring together some of the UK’s biggest banks and exciting new tech start-ups to compete in an ambitious mental health tech challenge. The ‘TechSprint’ will bring together tech developers for two days, working in teams alongside mental health experts, to develop new and innovative tools to help people with mental health problems manage their money.

The winners will be selected by a panel of high-profile judges on how well their solutions would tackle the issues faced by people with mental health problems and how easily they could be implemented in the real world.


Who’s involved

Today, the FCA has announced which firms will be involved, and we’re delighted to have such a great participation from across the financial services industry. From the big banks like Lloyds, Barclays and Santander to exciting new fintech start-ups like Monzo and Aire – It shows just how seriously the industry is taking the challenge of better supporting their customers with mental health problems. The TechSprint will be hosted by PWC.


Why we need new solutions

One in four of us experience a mental health problem each year. People with mental health problems are three times more likely to be in financial difficulty than those without. The stress, anxiety and worry of being in financial difficulty slows recovery from a mental health problem, forming a vicious and devastating cycle.

Across the UK nearly 12 million adults are living with a mental health problem, about 3 million of whom will be struggling with problem debts. These are big problems, ready for new solutions.

“I’d love to be able to contact my bank and say I’ve got mental health issues and when I’m in a really low place I would like to put a restriction on my bank account… If that had happened I would be hundreds of thousands of pounds better off.”


A real game changer

We’re excited to see what potential solutions will be developed. These tools could be a real-game changer for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem, who don’t deserve to be left to a life of financial difficulty.

“An automatic bank budgeting scheme [would be helpful] as I can’t face knowing what my situation is when I am aware that I am in greater debt than I can pay off. Paying bills and maintaining financial stability is crucial in preventing my mental health deteriorating”


Read more about how we think fintech could help people with mental health problems here