New scheme dedicated to making life easier for those suffering with mental illness
4 in 10 people in the UK suffer from admin anxiety, which is why a new scheme has been introduced to support those whose mental health interferes with their ability to properly manage their finances.
Lloyds will be the first bank to be tested against new ‘Mental Health Accessible’ standards, designed to ease the struggle of activities such as making phone calls and filling out complex forms for those suffering with their mental health.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has proposed 11 factors that will be considered when banks are tested on their ability to cater for those with mental health problems, including the training of their staff and the ways in which customers can complete necessary tasks relating to their finances.
Staff at Lloyds’ branches and call-centres will be trained to provide the necessary support to those with recognised mental health issues, as well as the direction they can point them in for further advice.
The standards have been introduced with the aim of encouraging companies to develop a greater understanding of the various mental health issues that can have an impact on a person’s ability to effectively manage their bank account.
Banks who sign up to the scheme will also have to make note of a customer’s communication preferences, to ensure that they are not contacted by means they are uncomfortable with.
‘Mental Health Accessible’ Standards
The standards that have been introduced will ensure that staff are fully equipped to deal with customers in need of additional assistance, as well as making sure that the company offer their communications process via a range of different mediums - such as text, email, webchat, phone, face-to-face, etc.
This also applies to the company’s website, which, under the new standards, must be easy to navigate with various support options.
The company must also show that they provide additional support to customers – particularly when they are unwell – by helping them to remember previous conversations and highlighting important pieces of information, such as what they need to do next.
Lloyds will trial the new standards - business, sustainability and inclusion director of the company, Fiona Cannon, insists that “with the right support we can help our customers and colleagues with mental health conditions to thrive.”
Founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis, has had this to say:
"Dealing with essential services can at times be frustrating and difficult for all of us. Yet for some of the 12 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.
"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.”
The charity is hoping to be able to extend its standards to an array of other firms who are in regular contact with their customers, such as energy, water and broadband providers.