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Nationwide secures mental health accreditation

  • 29/02/2024
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Nationwide secures mental health accreditation
Nationwide is the first building society to secure Money and Mental Health’s Mental Health Accessible Accreditation.

The mental health accessible programme was launched after Money and Mental Health found customers with mental health problems had serious difficulties engaging with essential services.

They can also struggle to complete day-to-day financial admin and communicate with companies when things go wrong.

The accreditation is awarded after an assessment of how accessible Nationwide’s services are for people with mental health, including product and service design, communications and staff training.

A group of 5,000 people with lived experience of mental health conditions also evaluated the services and offered feedback.

Money and Mental Health made recommendations to Nationwide including enhancing resources to help staff understand challenges faced by customers, making customer-facing communications more inclusive and accessible and offering extra training to staff on how best to create communications.

Nationwide has made the changes, which will make it easier for customers with mental health issues to access information and support and mitigate stress and anxiety.

The firm has a level 1 accreditation, the first of three.


‘Worse outcomes’ for customers with mental health problems

Rosie Normanton, head of strategic partnerships at Money and Mental Health, said: “Keeping up with financial admin or getting in touch with your bank or building society can be a challenge for anyone. But for people with mental health problems, using and accessing financial services can often feel extremely difficult, especially when you’re dealing with common symptoms such as memory problems, reduced concentration and low motivation.

“Unfortunately, many firms’ services do not fully consider these unique challenges, resulting in customers with mental health problems experiencing worse outcomes.”

She said: “So, we’re delighted that Nationwide has taken steps to improve its support and the accessibility of its services for customers with mental health problems, which we’ve recognised by making it the first building society to receive our Mental Health Accessible Accreditation.

“We were particularly pleased to see Nationwide take swift action in response to our recommendations, for example by improving its resources to help staff better understand the challenges people with mental health problems face and making its communications with customers more supportive.”

“We want to work with other firms across the financial services and essential services sectors to improve their services for customers with mental health problems, whether that’s through our accreditation programme or through bespoke projects for smaller firms.”

Stephen Noakes, director of retail at Nationwide, said: “Poor mental health and money problems unfortunately go hand in hand, and one may cause or exacerbate the other.

“This is something we know that many people experience, but by making adjustments to our services and support, informed by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s research and their community of people with lived experience of mental health conditions, we can work towards breaking that link.”

He added: “We’re proud of the teams across Nationwide who have helped bring in vital new resources to help both customers and colleagues alike, and I know that we all look forward to continuing to build our support, whether that’s through specialist training on mental health for our frontline colleagues or creating new resources with the latest guidance in mind.”

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