Imaan Wright, External Affairs Intern, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Introducing: Imaan Wright

9 February 2024

  • Imaan Wright has joined the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute as an External Affairs Intern. 
  • Before starting at Money and Mental Health, Imaan supported young people and adults living with mental health difficulties to develop independent living skills, including budgeting. 
  • She saw the impact of both money and mental health difficulties on individuals and their social network. She is happy that the Research Community allows these experiences to be understood and conveyed. 
  • Imaan is excited to help grow the national conversation around money and mental health during her internship.

One afternoon, I spent over an hour and a half on the telephone trying to have a missing form replaced. This form was vital for the individual I was supporting, as it stood between them and their much needed benefits payments. The payments had been stopped a few months prior whilst the individual had been receiving in-patient mental health treatment. I was bounced to and fro between different departments, buffeted by bureaucracy and sirened by hold music, but I was determined to get through to someone. I had already tried (and failed) twice the day before. 

Research highlights the difficulties people experiencing vulnerability can face when managing their benefit entitlements, but I was surprised to see for myself just how inaccessible timely support could be. Unfortunately, this is just one of many systemic issues for those of us experiencing both mental health problems and financial difficulty.

With crises such as rising cost of living and longer NHS waiting times, there is an urgent need to acknowledge the link between money and mental health and take a multifaceted, society-wide approach to fixing it. I’m proud to be contributing to the work of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, who are at the helm of these initiatives.

My background

Before starting my internship at Money and Mental Health, I supported young people and adults living with mental health difficulties to develop independent living skills. The role involved helping people to manage their finances. Here, I saw the close connection between mental health problems and financial difficulty. These problems in tandem increased stress, vulnerability, and sometimes even the risk of criminalisation. 

These challenges didn’t just affect people experiencing vulnerability, but their family and friends too, as important social relationships often became strained. This impact isn’t always captured through data, so it has been refreshing to see that Money and Mental Health centres their 5,000-strong Research Community in their work – experts by experience who are willing to share their stories.

My hopes for the future

My first few weeks at Money and Mental Health have been invigorating and inspiring. Starting any new role can be daunting, but I have been welcomed into a supportive environment where the commitment to wellbeing pervades every aspect of the organisation. There is a real sense of community and inclusion here – from being able to have introduction chats with each team member to the effort that’s been made to ensure I’m clued up on all the important acronyms. 

In my first week, I was able to hit the ground running by observing the launch of the No place like home mortgages report. And the team is already gearing up for the next project launch, which is very exciting. I am confident that I’m going to be challenged (in a good way!) through this role and I am excited for the adventures of the next six months. In what is set to be a politically eventful year, there is a real opportunity to see greater focus on breaking the link between money and mental health problems. I am especially keen to play a part in helping grow these necessary conversations.