Nic Murray, Research Officer, Money and Mental Health
Hearing what goes unheard
In the year since Money and Mental Health first started, we’ve heard thousands of people’s stories about the toxic combination of mental health problems and financial difficulty. From unwittingly spending thousands of pounds in a manic episode to letting debts spiral while unable to deal with letters and calls from creditors, the harm can be enormous.
Just as important, but often harder to hear, are the stories of the hard work going in to avoid these scenarios. The support that people experiencing mental health problems receive from unpaid carers, like partners, friends and family members can be the difference between someone falling into financial difficulty and effectively managing their money.
The research we carried out with carers last year highlighted this important role and the vital support many carers are providing, but also showed us the difficulties carers are facing to do so. Many carers are having to open joint accounts or putting themselves in uncomfortable positions by knowing someone else’s passwords and logging onto their online bank accounts, just to get around a system that makes it incredibly hard to support someone else to manage their money.
Being part of the change
Learning about and understanding the challenges that carers face means that we can work together to tackle them. The carers we spoke to not only shared their experiences with us, but also worked with us to picture what a banking system that recognised the support carers provide would look like.
This meant that we could take evidence to banks that was far more compelling that just figures alone, while also being confident that the solutions we were proposing would have a meaningful benefit for the people we had spoken to.
Even easier to share
We want to build an even stronger case for financial service providers to change. By amplifying the voices of thousands of carers supporting someone with a mental health problem, we’ll make sure they’re heard by those who can make a difference. You can help us by joining our Research Community.
Being a member of our community and sharing your experience means that you’ll be adding your voice to the hundreds of other carers in similar situations. My Money and Mental Health is our online Research Community where you can do just that, in a way that is easy, safe and secure. All without leaving your home.
My Money and Mental Health is for anyone with experience of mental health problems, either themselves or caring for someone else. You don’t have to be a full-time carer or have any expertise or specialist knowledge. Simply having the experience of caring for someone with a mental health problem and being willing to share that, makes you a welcome member of the community.
You can log in to the community and be offered opportunities to take part in a host of research projects, from quick polls and short surveys to interactive focus groups. These could be about how banks could provide greater tools and support for carers, or what you think healthcare providers could do to help you caring for someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
You can take part as often or as little as you like, and do so whenever is convenient for you. My Money and Mental Health makes sure that there is always an opportunity to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to help all those involved in the experience of mental health problems.
Sharing our successes
And when we take your stories and ideas with us to banks, regulators, the NHS and beyond, we’ll always make sure that you are the first to know. Which means that when these organisations listen and commit to making changes and providing solutions, we can celebrate our joint success thanks to all those across the UK who have shared their experience with us.
You can click here to sign up to My Money and Mental Health right now, to help us make sure that the experiences you and thousands of other carers have caring for someone with a mental health problem don’t go left unheard.