15 July 2016
First major policy initiative announced from Money and Mental Health Institute
On Wednesday 13th July, colleagues from Cambridge Cognition were invited to the House of Commons for the launch of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s first major policy initiative, In Control.
On Wednesday 13th July, colleagues from Cambridge Cognition were invited to the House of Commons for the launch of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s first major policy initiative, In Control. This consultation paper sets out the psychological drivers of increased spending and explores a range of possible solutions, along with a series of questions to which they invite those with expertise in financial services, retail and mental health to respond.
Mental health is the world’s biggest challenge with 1 in 4 people worldwide suffering from a mental health problem each year. The consultation found 93% of people with mental health problems spend more when they’re unwell and 88% said they were at least two months behind in paying bills; online shopping was said to be particularly hard to resist by 80%.
Founder and Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis said “The relationship between money and mental health is toxic. Every day I hear from people who struggle to control their spending in periods of poor mental health. Money and Mental Health is looking at policy solutions to add ‘friction’ to the system – to try and help impulse control.”
The report details the six ways that mental health affects spending including:
1. Frenzied spending during a high or period of mania
2. Nihilistic spending where the transaction, or life itself, is considered meaningless
3. Comfort spending to boost low mood
4. Social value spending to boost status or self-worth by giving money or gifts to others
5. Impulsive spending where we can’t attribute any purpose to the transaction
6. Addictive spending to feed an addiction, like alcohol or gambling
Cambridge Cognition welcomes the new initiative from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and is in full support of the charity as it now begins an in-depth consultation to find better ways to support people with mental health problems to regulate their spending. The Money and Mental Health Institute is also exploring ways in which digital technology might allow for more sophisticated, real-time assessments of mental capacity at the point of sale. As mentioned on page 20 of In Control, a product such as Cognition Kit offers a potential example for measuring brain health day-to-day.
Read the report and respond to the consultation here.