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How can banks help consumers with mental health conditions and their carers?

Populus research commissioned by The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute finds that consumers with mental health conditions and their carers are resorting to risky workarounds to manage the financial implications of living with a mental health illness.

The research finds that carers for people with mental health problems are more likely to know someone else’s PIN number, than carers for someone with any other health problem.

You can read The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s full press release here.

Mental health and money matters

People with mental health conditions can face unique difficulties when it comes to managing money. This includes budgeting, ensuring bills are paid on time, limiting increased spending and communicating with banks.

Carers can find it difficult to know when to step in to stop increased spending during periods of poor mental health and may lack ways of accessing information.

They can face the prospect of having to apply for and use Power of Attorney in some scenarios. In addition, the fluctuating nature of mental health difficulties can also make it hard for carers to step in when it comes to finances.

In the absence of adequate support from the banks, consumers with mental health conditions and their carers are left resorting to unsafe workarounds.

According to the research, among people who care for someone with a mental health problem:

  • 52% know someone else’s PIN number
  • 27% have used someone else’s contactless card
  • 23% know someone else’s online banking passwords

The figures mirror the sharing of information by those who said they had experienced a mental health problem in the last 24 months.

Of this group:

  • 32% said someone else knows their PIN number
  • 13% said someone else has used their contactless card
  • 11% said someone else knows their online banking passwords

It is not possible to definitely say that the account information these carers know belongs to the person that they care for.

But comparing to the population as a whole, carers were considerably more likely to have used these workarounds than people without any caring responsibilities, as illustrated by The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute below:

Though we do not know the frequency with which these workarounds are being used, doing so even once is placing potential for financial abuse.

Barclays’ introduction of new limited cards for carers is an important step in preventing financial abuse while also making life easier for consumers with mental health conditions and their carers.

This can help reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and has the potential to transform the lives of people with other health conditions and their carers too.

The Money & Mental Health Policy Institute is putting forward proposals for change to reduce the financial harm being caused by banks’ failure to act.

You can read the full Strength in Numbers report by The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute here.

Consumer research is a vital part of understanding organisations and their role in society.

Find out more about Populus’s Reputation & Strategy Solutions, which works with the boards of global companies and public institutions to help them understand, influence and improve reputations.

Methodology

The omnibus survey was carried out by Populus, interviewing 2,053 Britons online between 4 and 6 November 2016. The data produced was weighted to be nationally representative.

312 respondents indicated that they had experienced a mental health problem in the last 24 months.

391 respondents stated that they provided some form of formal or informal care for a friend or family member, with 122 doing so for someone with a mental health problem, 210 doing so for someone with a physical health problem or disability and 98 doing so for another reason.

View the full Data Tables here.

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