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Protecting the mental health of employees working with vulnerable people

Mental health problems aren’t anyone’s fault, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work - so, what happens if your staff are working in an environment where they are exposed to people at their most vulnerable?

Our advisers are on the frontline of the cost of living crisis, with around one in five adults struggling with bills and credit repayments, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.

They’re often the first person a customer has spoken to about their money worries and the challenges they’re facing.

Because of this, they listen to heart-breaking stories every day from people who are really struggling in lots of areas of their lives.

They could be losing their homes, their families, their livelihoods, and in some cases feel suicidal.

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We don’t just help with debt; we listen to people’s stories and then signpost them to additional specialist support.

Helping people in their darkest hour can be hugely rewarding but it can also be pressurised and mentally exhausting.

This means supporting our advisers’ mental health is vital.

We do this through several initiatives:



After every call, every adviser, regardless of the nature of the call is given 15 minutes to decompress and reflect on what’s been discussed.

If they still don’t feel great after this time, they can discuss their thoughts and feelings with their team leader and take time out until ready to recommence.


Mental health first aiders

We have trained several mental health first aiders who offer one-to-one support for anyone struggling with their mental health because of situations at home or work.

The mental health first aiders are from all levels of the business, and employees can choose who they feel most comfortable confiding in.

We’ve found basic human connection and feeling supported by peers has really helped with managing mental wellness.


Resilience training

Members of staff recently undertook resilience training delivered by the Samaritans.

The course helped those who took part form practical strategies to strengthen their personal resilience, enhance their wellbeing, and prioritise their self-care so they can more effectively respond to challenges in their roles.

The programme helped employees:

  • Appreciate the connection between emotional health and resilience.
  • Understand the potential impact of stress on their wellbeing and how to recognise their warning signs.
  • Identify how their emotional responses and thinking habits can impact their resilience.
  • Explore ways to build their resilience, enhance their wellbeing and prioritise their self-care.
  • Identify opportunities to develop their support network.


Open door HR policy for more confidential support

We have an open-door policy in HR and employees are free to speak to us about how they’re feeling at any time.

This works better for those who are more comfortable talking about their mental health in a confidential setting or have perhaps found the other initiatives haven’t worked for them.


Professional mental health support

If someone’s mental health has deteriorated to a point where we can’t help, employees can access dedicated and professional mental health support through our employee assistance programme, the ‘happy app’.


Wellness programme

Employees have access to a funded on-site gym, as exercise can help with boosting mood.

We’re also in the process of accessing different wellness programmes to provide more holistic support for the future.

Communication is key when dealing with mental health.

Making a safe space for employees to feel comfortable to talk can only help to smash the stigma associated with mental health.


Stacey Cannon is head of colleague engagement and development at Money Wellness