Lloyds Bank becomes first firm to receive ‘Mental Health Accessible’ accreditation after working with Money and Mental Health charity to improve its services
27 August 2020
- The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has awarded Lloyds Bank the first ever ‘Mental Health Accessible’ accreditation for businesses.
- This follows a comprehensive assessment by the charity of how accessible Lloyds Bank’s services are for customers with mental health problems, and where improvements could be made.
- In response to Money and Mental Health’s feedback, Lloyds Bank has made important changes to make its services easier to use for customers with poor mental health, and has committed to taking further action.
Money and Mental Health’s Mental Health Accessible programme supports essential services providers – such as banks, energy or broadband suppliers and water companies – to better understand and address the challenges that customers with mental health problems face using their services.
The charity created the programme after publishing research (1) which shows that more than half of people with mental health problems face serious difficulties using the phone to carry out essential admin, and four in ten have severe ‘admin anxiety’ — leaving them unable to effectively use essential services.
These problems also have a huge psychological toll — with more than one in five (22%) people with a recent mental health problem saying that they have had a panic attack as a result of dealing with an essential services provider (2).
In June 2019, Money and Mental Health launched a pilot of the Mental Health Accessible programme in partnership with Lloyds Bank. This saw the charity undertake an in-depth evaluation of how accessible Lloyds Bank’s services are for customers with mental health problems, and offer recommendations on how the bank could make improvements (3).
In response to Money and Mental Health’s feedback, Lloyds Bank made important changes to its services to make them easier for people with poor mental health to use. These include:
- Making its website easier to navigate, including improving content to support customers experiencing mental health or have fallen behind on payments
- Clearly signposting to sources of support for customers with gambling or mental health problems
- Giving customers the option to save webchat conversations, to help those with reduced memory and concentration.
In light of these changes, Money and Mental Health has awarded Lloyds Bank an “Essentials” rating, the first of three progressively more demanding levels which firms can achieve when taking part in the Mental Health Accessible programme (the other two levels are “Advanced” and “Leading the Way”).
The charity has also given Lloyds Bank an action plan to help it take further steps to make its services more accessible for customers with poor mental health — for example, by making it easier for customers to get support from specialist teams when they are unwell.
With new ONS data suggesting that the number of British adults experiencing symptoms of depression has doubled during the pandemic (4), Money and Mental Health is urging other essential services firms to improve the accessibility of their services by joining the Mental Health Accessible programme.
Katie Alpin, Interim Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said:
“Around 12 million people across the UK are experiencing mental health problems which can make it extremely difficult to use essential services like telecoms, energy and banking. Not only does that leave people locked out of services which are critical for everyday life, it can also cause serious distress for customers who are already struggling.
“It’s vital that companies in these sectors take action to make their services easier to use for these customers, and we want to support firms to do that through the Mental Health Accessible programme. We’re delighted that Lloyds Bank has made these improvements as a result of working with us. They will make a real difference for customers experiencing mental health problems.
“Now we’re urging other firms to work with us to ensure their services are accessible as possible. With the pandemic leaving many more people facing distress and debt problems, it’s more important than ever that everyone can access the services that we all rely on.”
Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director for Lloyds Banking Group, said:
“For Lloyds Bank to be the first bank to achieve the Essentials level in the Mental Health Accessible Accreditation demonstrates our strong commitment to raising mental health awareness. This is a significant milestone on our continuing journey towards not only supporting our customers with both visible and invisible disabilities, but also to addressing the stigma that exists around mental health.”
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Notes to Editors
(1) These numbers are taken from Money and Mental Health’s 2018 report ‘Access essentials – giving people with mental health problems equal access to vital services’
(2) This is based on nationally representative polling by YouGov polling of 2052 adults, of which 491 have had a mental health problem in the last 2 years and 1355 have not had a recent mental health problem. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th – 13th May 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
(3) Money and Mental Health assessed the bank on three key areas:
- the range of communications channels it offers customers;
- the extent to which it equips staff with the tools and resources they need to meet the needs of customers experiencing mental health problems;
- How the banks helps customers to understand and engage with their services on an ongoing basis
(4) This stat is taken from the ONS publication: ’Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: June 2020’
About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute:
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works.
About Lloyds Bank:
Lloyds Bank is part of Lloyds Banking Group. Lloyds Banking Group is a leading UK based financial services group providing a wide range of banking and financial services, focused on personal and commercial customers.
The Group’s main business activities are retail, commercial and corporate banking, general insurance, and life, pensions and investment provision. The Group’s purpose is to help Britain Prosper, by using its scale and reach across the UK to help tackle the social and economic issues that matter most.
One of the ways it is doing this is through its Helping Britain Prosper Plan, which was launched in 2014 and sets public targets in areas including housing, saving for the future, building digital skills, supporting business growth, tackling social disadvantage and championing diversity.