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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|NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information about the Mental Health Accessible standards, please visit www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/mentalhealthaccessible.
About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
About Lloyds Bank:
About the Inclusive Economy Partnership: