First major bank signs up to Money and Mental Health’s accessibility standards to prevent millions with mental health problems being ‘locked out’ of essential services

25 June 2019

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has today launched the first ever Mental Health Accessible standards, to make essential services easier to use for millions of people with mental health problems who struggle to make telephone calls, open post or navigate complex online forms.
  • Lloyds Bank has signed up to become the first firm to be tested against the new standards, and will use this insight to make its services more accessible for people with mental health problems.

Research (1) by Money and Mental Health 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 service providers such as banks, energy suppliers, water companies, and broadband or mobile phone providers

And new YouGov online polling to a sample of 2,000 GB adults published today by the charity (2) highlights the psychological harm caused by these difficulties. It shows that:

  • People who have had a mental health problem in the last two years are more than three times as likely to have cried while dealing with an essential services provider, than those who have not had one. Nearly one in five (18%) said they have cried while dealing with an essential services provider, compared to just 5% who have not had a mental health problem recently, or ever in their lifetime.
  • They are also more than three times as likely to have lost sleep over a problem with essential services (29% compared to just 9% of people who have not had a mental health problem recently or in their lifetime).
  • And more than one in five (22%) people with a recent mental health problem say that they have had a panic attack as a result of dealing with an essential services provider.

Money and Mental Health developed the new Mental Health Accessible standards to help essential services firms both understand and address the challenges that people with mental health problems face when using their services.

Lloyds Bank has agreed to partner with Money and Mental Health to pilot the new standards. This will see the charity evaluate how accessible Lloyds Bank’s services are for customers with mental health problems, and make recommendations on how they can be made easier to use (3). After the pilot is completed, Money and Mental Health hopes to extend the Mental Health Accessible standards to firms across financial services, telecoms, energy and water providers.

The standards were developed by Money and Mental Health with the help of 25 firms, and with support from the Inclusive Economy Partnership – which is driven by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Cabinet Office – and Nesta.

Money and Mental Health’s Research Community of ‘experts by experience’ also played a central role in shaping the standards, to ensure they address the challenges and difficulties people with mental health problems can face when using essential services.  

Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:

“Dealing with essential services can at times be frustrating and difficult for all of us. Yet for some of the twelve million people in the UK with mental health problems, fear or difficulties navigating through the bureaucracy can lead to them being locked out, unable to use or pay for electricity, water, banking, the internet and more. Many firms already rightly make adjustments for people with physical or sensory conditions, yet until now they haven’t done the same for customers with mental health problems — leaving a significant number of people at financial disadvantage or at its worst a psychological risk.

“We want to encourage services to change, which is why we’re excited to launch our Mental Health Accessible standards, which we hope will make it easier for firms to make it easier for those with mental health problems. We’re grateful to Lloyds Bank for putting its head above the parapet to be the first firm to have its services tested by the standards, hopefully giving it the opportunity to improve. I hope this will be the first of many firms doing it.

“And while this should make a huge difference in ensuring all essential services are more accessible to people struggling with their mental health, it’s very likely to have knock on effects for all customers – simplifying systems, and ensuring people can contact firms in the way that best suits them.”

Fiona Cannon, Group Responsible Business, Sustainability and Inclusion Director, Lloyds Banking Group said:  

“Our purpose is to Help Britain Prosper and our ambition is to shift mindsets to recognise that we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. We believe that with the right support we can help our customers and colleagues with mental health conditions to thrive. We are delighted to be the first company in the UK to have our services tested against these standards. We want to make a real difference to people’s lives and well-being and make our services accessible to all.”

Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“Whether you have a problem with your physical health or your mental health, being able to access the key services which are essential to daily life is so important. I hope these important new standards will make a real difference and will eventually be rolled out to many more firms so the process can be made as stress free as possible.”


For more details, and for any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental health, on 07595 439 638 or [email protected]

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For more information about the Mental Health Accessible standards, please visit

    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. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 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. There are 11 standards covering all interactions with consumers on any channels that essential services firms use, including face to face, voice and digital. The standards aim to address three areas in particular: equipping staff with the tools and resources they need to meet the needs of customers experiencing mental health problems; offering a range of communications channels; and helping customers to understand and engage with services.

About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops policies for essential services firms, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in-Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
  • Helen Undy is a passionate mental health campaigner and became the Institute’s Chief Executive in 2018, having previously led the Institute’s impact and communications work.

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.

About the Inclusive Economy Partnership:

  • The Inclusive Economy Partnership is a partnership of businesses, civil society and government departments who are working together to solve some of society’s toughest challenges, to help all communities and everyone within them feel they belong to and can participate in the UK economy.
  • Jointly funded and resourced by the Cabinet Office and DCMS, the Inclusive Economy Partnership was launched in September 2017 with the backing of a Champions Group comprising 14 CEOs from business and civil society and a focus on three challenges: financial inclusion & capability; mental health and transition to work for young people.
  • More information at