A picture of our Mental Health Accessible standards logo

Introducing our new standards for essential services

Millions of people with mental health problems struggle to use essential services because of difficulties making phone calls, opening post or filling in complex forms. 

We’ve launched the first ever Mental Health Accessible standards to help essential services firms – such as banks, energy suppliers and water companies – better understand the challenges that customers with mental health problems face, and to make their services easier to use.

Why the standards are needed:

Our research shows that:

  • More than half of people with mental health problems (54%) have serious difficulties using the phone to carry out essential admin
  • More than one in five (22%) people with a recent mental health problem have had a panic attack while dealing with essential services

These challenges leaves many people with mental health problems out of pocket, and stuck with services they don’t want or need. Even worse, they make people feel distressed or even suicidal, just trying to get a basic service like banking or electricity.

How the standards will work:

We will use the standards to test firms on how accessible their services are for people with mental health problems, and then make recommendations on how they can improve.

We’ll be testing firms on:

  • How well they train and prepare their staff to support customers with mental health problems
  • Whether they offer a wide range of communication channels, so that people can get in touch whichever way suits them best
  • What tools and support they offer to help people stay on top of things when they’re unwell.

We’re pleased to be partnering with Lloyds Bank plc to pilot the standards. Lloyds will be the first bank to be assessed against these new standards, and is committed to using this insight to improve access to their services for people with mental health problems.

How to get involved:

If you work for an essential services firm, we want you to get involved.

By signing your firm up to be assessed against the Mental Health Accessible standards, you’ll get a unique insight into the experiences of the one in four of your customers experiencing mental health problems every year, and how to help them get a fair deal.

To find out more, contact us at mha@moneyandmentalhealth.org, or using the button below.

Click here to contact us
click this button to read the standards
click here to read our research on access to essential services

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.