Becca Stacey, Senior Research Officer, Money and Mental Health
Introducing: Becca Stacey
16 February 2022
There are always going to be challenges when starting a new job. One of my most memorable was in my previous role, where the lift I was taking to my first external meeting got stuck, resulting in me being 45 minutes late. Since starting at Money and Mental Health, I have really valued how welcoming the team has been. I feel very supported as I get to grips with my new role and responsibilities, and equipped to deal with any challenges. Working from home has also removed the fear of any recurring lift drama.
I have joined the team from the anti-poverty charity Z2K, where I undertook research and policy work on how Universal Credit and disability benefits can better support people in vulnerable situations. A big part of my role involved talking to Z2K clients about their experiences engaging with the benefits system. These conversations made it very clear to me that this engagement both disadvantages and actively harms people with mental health problems, and what’s more, often causes people who haven’t previously been affected by mental illness to experience a mental health problem for the first time.
Another point which regularly came up in these conversations, was that some of the barriers Z2K clients with mental health problems experienced when engaging with the benefits system, weren’t dissimilar to the barriers they experienced in other situations that related to their finances, such as when engaging with essential services firms (something I also encountered when I was at Citizens Advice Westminster). What really excites me about this role at Money and Mental Health is the opportunity to look holistically at all the different factors that contribute to that link between someone experiencing a mental health problem and financial difficulty; to develop a greater understanding of where issues overlap and contribute to each other; and to produce research that can be used to break that link.
Gaining a deeper understanding
I’m excited to look deeper into how peoples’ mental health and financial situation varies depending on factors such as their age, gender, ethnicity etc. The first project that I’ll be working on will involve developing a greater understanding of how peoples’ experience of mental health and financial difficulty vary depending on where in the UK they live. By identifying areas where people experiencing difficulties with their mental health and finances are most likely to struggle or thrive, this project will be a really important step in identifying areas that need greater support, as well as where there is good practice to learn from.
I am also really looking forward to working with, and learning from, the Research Community. This was one of the big reasons that I was so keen to join Money and Mental Health, along with wanting to work for an organisation which is so committed to ensuring that people with mental health problems drive everything they do. Sharing our experiences isn’t always easy, but as I learnt in my previous role, doing so brings immense value and insight, and our experiences can be a powerful force for change.
The team’s commitment to undertaking work that is both driven by and seeks to improve peoples’ experiences, has been clear from my first day, and I feel very lucky to be working alongside such inspiring colleagues, who produce such high-quality and impactful work.