Mental health in 2020

Coronavirus and mental health

The issue of mental health has become more prominent in recent years, and even more so during 2020 as concern grows about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s wellbeing.

Along with obvious anxiety about the virus itself and families being affected by illness and bereavement, the impact on everyone’s daily lives has been unprecedented. During lockdown people were unable to attend work or places of education, socialise or do any of their usual activities, resulting in social isolation for some and relationship problems for others. Enforced home working for many, despite having some obvious benefits, has resulted in the blurring of boundaries between work and home – made even harder for many by children being at home. And while many people were furloughed others had to manage increased workloads, leading to stress and burnout.

Six months on and uncertainty remains around the ongoing threat of the virus, pressure to ‘return to normal’ and the impact of ongoing restrictions on people’s routines and livelihoods. With the UK in recession, many people now also have worries about job security and finances.

It’s vital that society acknowledges and talks about the impact of all this on people’s mental health, and that there is help available for those who need it. With this year’s World Mental Health Day focusing on investment in mental health, we’ve been working to ensure that we’re doing our bit.

What we're doing for colleagues

Around one third of our people are currently serving customers in offices and branches, with stringent hygiene measures and social distancing in place to ensure their safety at all times. The rest of our staff are working from home and we have bookable desks available for those who, for whatever reason, need to spend some time in an office.

We have a range of mental health services and support in place for colleagues, including:

  • a network of 1,300 mental health advocates who help to raise awareness and are trained to have supportive conversations and signpost people to appropriate support
  • Your Resilience – an online tool providing a wealth of resources to help with wellbeing such as podcasts, articles and expert-led webinars  
  • Validium – an employee assistance helpline which offers legal advice, professional counselling, advice on finances and debt, coaching, and support on a range of other issues
  • free access to Headspace, the leading mindfulness and meditation app (around 13,000 colleagues have registered)
  • a dedicated health and wellbeing support hub for those impacted in any way by coronavirus, with advice and resources on working from home, domestic abuse, finances, staying healthy and much more.  

It’s so good and really reassuring to know that Lloyds Banking Group does genuinely care for its colleagues’ mental wellbeing. Headspace is just one support tool of many, but for me has been the biggest support tool of all.

Lloyds Banking Group colleague

Supporting mental health charities

Beyond this support for our own people, in 2019 we extended our charity partnership with Mental Health UK by another two years.

Our colleagues and customers have raised over £12 million so far, with funds going towards Bloom, a programme that’s supported over 3,000 young people with mental health resilience – especially pertinent at this time. We’ve also provided additional funding to the pioneering Mental Health and Money Advice Service, which has helped almost 3,000 individuals with complex advice and casework. 89% of people who used the service reported their wellbeing has improved since.

At the start of the crisis, we also supported Age UK and The Silver Line – a helpline and friendship service for people aged 55 and over who may be lonely or isolated. The service has answered more than 96,900 calls during this time, and our funding has helped them to meet this demand.

Our four independent charitable Foundations support around 800 small charities a year and have a strong focus on supporting mental health. To date, our Foundations have invested almost £8 million to enable 300 small charities to develop mental health programmes, helping thousands of people to change their lives for the better. In 2018 and 2019, the Group gave £2.1 million of extra funding to support this important work in additional to our annual donation of around £25 million.

It [the Bloom programme] gave us all a sense of purpose and direction at a time when the world is full of chaos and confusion.

Abbie Longley, Teacher

Looking to the future

As the country starts to get back on its feet, we’ve launched The Big Conversation

This aims to get to the heart of what people, businesses and communities need to emerge stronger and better than before, through bringing people together and starting conversations on what we can do to move forward and help Britain recover. We want to open the dialogue and keep people talking, which is vital when it comes to supporting one another.

We know this starts with our own people, and we’ll continue to invest in and talk about mental health – it’s more important now than ever.