Nathan Baber, External Affairs Intern, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Introducing: Nathan Baber

20 January 2023

I left university last year and entered the ‘real world’ unsure what to do with myself. I had a mix of previous work experience, but given my political studies and time interning in PR, exploring similar opportunities felt like the best place to start. That’s when I discovered the intern role at Money and Mental Health.

The vicious cycle

I was impressed by the charity’s work. Money and mental health might, without examination, seem like distinct subjects. But there is a vicious cycle of harm which links them. Mental health problems can make it harder to earn and manage money. This can create financial difficulties, which in turn can cause stress and anxiety and lead to further mental health problems. 

There has been some progress made in breaking this link, such as our success in ending charges for the Debt and Mental Health evidence form, but more change is needed. The government, regulators and firms must take further action to tackle and prevent harm to our mental and financial health. 

The Money and Mental Health team is at the forefront of calling for this action, so I applied for the role with enthusiasm. It is now my privilege to become the charity’s new External Affairs Intern. 

My background

Before joining Money and Mental Health, I had some experience in supporting people’s mental health as a volunteer at my university’s Nightline service. I saw how mental health problems often come with links to money issues – with many of us struggling with debt also suffering from severe anxiety. I saw that, for students struggling with both their finances and mental health, change was needed to ensure they got the support they deserved.

I was also fortunate to complete PR and research internships during my studies. I was introduced to the powerful partnering of thorough research with effective communications. This is the best tactic when seeking to enact progressive change. Also, in this position I was part of a small but impactful team that showed me that some of the most potent campaigns come from close-knit groups, producing impactful campaigns collaboratively. 

This is precisely how the External Affairs Team here works, and I cannot think of a better place to continue my professional development and seek change. 

Seeking change

Money and Mental Health’s research already makes an impact, producing clear evidence supporting change for the better. However, this work needs to be accompanied by an impactful communication strategy that ensures research outputs reach a wide and influential audience. This audience needs to span across the public and private sectors. 

My political science background gave me an insight into our country’s political system and policy space. This space affects all of our lives and interactions with the world. However, the public realm is only one part of this interaction. The role of the private sector is just as important. Companies’ policies can also impact our interactions with everything from essential services providers to our hobbies and spare time.

The future

Having completed my studies and moved to London, I’m looking forward to learning a lot about Money and Mental Health. I want to develop my skills and gain more experience. This will help me become a better campaigns and communications professional. 

To do this, I’m going to embed myself in the process, learning all I can to ensure I contribute to our campaigns. I will continue to explore the power of communications in policy. I want to see how communications can help enact positive change in both the private sector and the public sphere. 

It is even better when this can be done while contributing to a fantastic charity working on a cause I am so passionate about.