Charity Awards 2024

Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Created a mental health quality kitemark for banks and utilities

Many people who suffer from mental health problems find that it can affect their ability to process information and communicate, and this means that essential services like banking and utilities can be hard to access or cause stress.

Money and Mental Health Policy Institute eventA study by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that people who have experienced mental health problems have exacerbated feelings of anxiety when dealing with these service providers.

The Mental Health Accessible programme encourages these providers such as banks and energy companies to become more inclusive for people suffering with mental health issues, by awarding them a quality kitemark when they reach certain levels of accessibility and support.

The accreditation programme involves undertaking a full review of a service provider’s customer-facing communications and processes, and then issuing recommendations for improvement.

The charity’s research community, which is a group of 5,000 people in the UK with lived experience of mental health problems, provides feedback for the programme. The Institute then provides recommendations for firms which, if enacted, mean they can achieve accredited status and demonstrate their commitment to supporting people living with mental health issues.

By offering three levels of accreditation – basic, advanced and leading the way – firms are incentivised to continually improve their services to make them more accessible. The Institute also charges the providers to take part in the scheme, creating a new revenue stream for itself.

Five banking providers joined the programme in 2023, potentially benefitting more than 75 million customers. The firms’ webpages were improved and made easier to understand, customers were given the option to tell their firm what support they needed, and changes were made to how the banks communicate if someone is in debt or arrears.

Charity Awards judge Julie Wilosn-Dodd commended the strong partnership working and said the charity had clearly made an impact with its target group.

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