*Our Mental Health Accessible programme is still running, but to help companies support customers in distress during the coronavirus crisis, we’ve developed a set of urgent customer service standards, free for all companies to download here.*
Mental Health Accessible is a partnership accreditation programme supporting essential services providers – such as banks, energy suppliers and water companies – to better understand and address the challenges that customers with mental health problems face using their services.
We are used to companies providing adjustments like braille letters or ramps for customers with physical disabilities, but little attention has been given to the mental health equivalents. Mental Health Accessible aims to fill that gap.
Why it’s important
One in four adults experience a mental health problem each year, which can make it extremely challenging to use essential services. Things like picking up the telephone or opening the post can fill someone with such overwhelming anxiety, that they become impossible tasks.
That leaves many people with mental health problems out of pocket, and stuck with services they don’t want or need. Even worse, it can cause further distress.
The Mental Health Accessible Programme is a three year partnership, in which we will provide bespoke consultancy to help partners meet our 11 mental health accessibility standards. Once met, companies will be accredited with a Mental Health Accessible logo to display on their website, and will also be given ongoing bespoke accessibility and inclusion support from our expert team for three years.
Why sign up
Becoming mental health accessible will make a huge difference to your customer’s experience and their financial wellbeing. It also makes good business sense. Not only will adopting these changes better equip your customer facing teams and reduce complaints, becoming mental health accessible will put you in an excellent position to meet future guidance from regulators on how companies should be supporting vulnerable customers.
We’re pleased to announce that Lloyds Bank is the first firm to achieve an ‘Essentials’ rating as part of our Mental Health Accessible programme. We have provided Lloyds with an action plan so that they can take further steps to make their services more accessible.
This project has been made possible through support from the Inclusive Economy Partnership – which is driven by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Cabinet Office – and Nesta.