Insights and News /

17 March 2017

Balancing mental health and financial health

The FCA is working with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to achieve real change by bringing together financial services and technology organisations, encouraging the industry to come up with practical innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by people with mental health problems when managing their personal finances.

Along with a diverse range of companies e.g. high street banks, university research teams and various software development houses, Baringa Partners were honoured to be invited to participate in a two day ‘tech sprint’ event to define, develop and build a working prototype to help tackle the aspects of financial management that prove particularly difficult for people with mental health issues, e.g. impulses to overspend. With 1 in 4 adults in the UK suffering from some form of mental health problem, the race was on to build a solution that could have a real impact on society.

We were delighted to have arrived at a solution that won the ‘Eureka’ award (the sudden, unexpected realisation of the solution to a problem), however this was all about the bigger picture to help those that suffer with mental health issues.

The power of collaboration
Collaboration was key to driving the desired outcomes. Acting as one team with a number of other organisations (Softwire, Go Henry, and Cambridge Cognition) ensured the relevant insight and skills were deployed to such a worthwhile initiative.

The solution
Our core aim was to understand and intervene, to break the cycle of crisis spending associated with mental health.
We developed a concept that focused on empowering those with mental health issues with support, relevant interventions, nudges, coaching and practical steps to manage themselves through their relevant episode via a tailor made app. We felt it important to bring some friction back into the process and enable people to take control of their choices for themselves in a personalised manner.

Through real time monitoring and aggregation across a number of data sources such as social media sentiment analysis, financial transaction data, geolocation data and the weather type we were able to recognise changes in an individual’s behaviour which may be an indication of the onset of a particular mental health episode that might ultimately lead to crisis spending. The real beauty of our solution was that it used passive data analysis, meaning the user doesn’t have to intervene or act during a time when they might be feeling particularly unmotivated.

A set of next best actions are then triggered across a range of opt-in channels (e.g. personalised chat bots, delegated buddy, push notifications or a simple phone call) to guide and support, providing the user with a friendly conversation, helpful advice and access to third sector support at their time of need to ensure people will not default to overspend behaviour.

Our vision is for this is to become the industry standard of care kite mark for mental health and financial wellbeing, encouraging collaboration in all industries as a socially responsible act, and as the right thing for organisations to do. We will now continue to work to make this vision a reality, aiming to get the app to market during 2017.