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The finance brands stepping up to address mental health

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Lifting the COVID-19 cloud

COVID-19 has affected us all in one way or another from our relationships to financial security, and mental health and wellbeing. An international study revealed 41% of the UK population’s mental health is at risk because of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s a similar story Down Under, with 78% of Australians reporting their mental health problems had worsened during the outbreak and nearly half worried about loneliness, financial troubles, and uncertainty. While in India, health experts warn that “mental health could be the country’s next crisis”. With the pandemic affecting every corner of the globe, customers, clients and employees are looking to finance brands to help steer and support them out of financial and social difficulties. 

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Finance brands looking after the mental health of the next gen

Research shows mental health has hit certain age groups particularly hard during the pandemic. According to a survey called ‘The Brave Face of Gen Z’, 73% of Gen Z are experiencing elevated stress levels due to the pandemic. Business Insider reported that since the pandemic hit, young people are suffering from loneliness, money stress, and burnout in the workplace. “Because of longer work hours and stagnant wages, millennials suffer from higher rates of burnout than other generations. Many of them have even quit their jobs for mental-health reasons.” Financial marketers need to step up and make sure mental health is top of the content agenda to support young employees or there may be a skills gap in the not-so-distant future.

Financial marketers need to step up and make sure mental health is top of the content agenda to support young employees or there may be a skills gap in the not-so-distant future.

Citi was one of the first banks to announce it was addressing employee financial stress in addition to the other challenges during the pandemic. To support lower income employees, many of whom are made up of gen Z workers, Citi announced it would give employees that earn less than $60,000, $1,000 each to help them cope. This led a chain reaction in the US with Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Bancorp and more giving special bonuses to lower-paid and frontline employees. 

While many brands may perceive mental health as a personal realm outside their remit, there’s a clear role for global finance brands to play in supporting customers, clients and employees’  mental health and financial wellbeing during the pandemic.

Finance brands creating tools to unlock financial wellbeing

Australian retail bank, Commbank launched an app feature for customers called the Coronavirus Money Plan off the back of research that found, “44% of Australians are greatly concerned about the future impact of coronavirus, particularly in regards to their health and finances.” The retail bank delivered tools for customers to better understand their finances as well as helping them identify government benefits they may be entitled to. Financial marketers should take note that Commbank is directing customers towards sites to save on utility bills, debt helplines and other external sites to help improve financial wellbeing. By directing users to genuinely helpful content owned by other brands, Commbank is demonstrating its commitment to supporting customers, rather than pushing its own products. 

Full disclosure, The Dubs has been working with the team at Commbank to help promote the Coronavirus Money Plan app’s features and help Australians feel more in control of their finances. 

Finance brands putting their money where their mouth is

With the United Nations highlighting the urgent need to “increase investment in services for mental health”, financial institutions need to rise to their responsibility to support customers, sometimes putting their money where their mouth is. The UK’s Lloyds Banking Group’s charity partnership with Mental Health UK does just that. The partnership promotes awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, encouraging discussion between customers and colleagues while raising at least £2million per year. With this raised cash, Lloyds Banking Group has gone on to develop the UK’s first Mental Health and Money Advice service showing financial marketers around the world that clear, practical advice can support people experiencing issues with mental health and money.

Financial marketers have a duty to their customers and clients to produce content, resources and tools that will help them during the pandemic and beyond. We don’t know when this will all end but we do know that with the right support, financial marketers can deliver confidence and security like no other brand. For help creating the right content and resources to support customers, get in touch. 

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Aisha Noor
Aisha is a Dubs content producer specialising in all things digital from video production to website development. Having been a Sydney-sider for a few years now, she's mastered the art of Tim-Tam Slamming with the perfect cuppa.