CISI launches dedicated mental health portal supporting global membership, financial services professionals and staff

By Lora Benson | Oct 10, 2019


The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), has launched its new mental health support portal, aimed at encouraging the conversation around mental health in financial services and to help end the stigma around discussing mental health issues for its global membership, financial services professionals and staff.

Announced as part of an initiative to support World Mental Health Day (10 October) and following the alarming statistics published by AdviserPlus in 2017 about mental health in financial services, the CISI asked a question about mental health in its membership survey in 2018, which found that only 46% of respondents would feel comfortable speaking with their manager if they had a mental health issue.

Although this improved slightly when the same question was asked of CISI members in 2019 (55% of 2019 respondents said they would feel comfortable speaking to their manager if they had a mental health issue), the professional body is showing its commitment to the wellbeing of its members, the wider financial services profession and staff in launching the new portal, which can be found on

The new CISI mental health portal offers information, resources and signposts to helpful organisations, the aim being to cultivate a healthy mind to help those in the financial services community to reach their full potential. The portal aims to mirror a toolkit approach, to practical articles, activities, resources and powerful stories to enable strides towards introducing positive well-being and a reduced stigma against speaking up as essential approaches in future office environments.

The portal includes a direct “Need Urgent Advice?” page for readers who may need urgent help, with links to Samaritans and MIND websites and emergency phone contacts for members across the 100 countries in which the CISI has members

The Information for Individuals contains articles, news and podcasts from the mental health community, selected by CISI members for professionals.

The comprehensive Information for organisations section focuses on why mental health matters, with statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which shows that there were 526,000 cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 in Great Britain, 1 in 6 workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at one time (MIND) and £1,300 is the cost to business per employee whose mental health needs are unsupported (Centre for Mental Health).

There is also a key section highlighting organisations which are known to be producing excellent research, support and guidance on issues relating to mental health. This includes MHFA England, MIND, Public Health England, Time To Change, Business In The Community, CII Thrive At Work standards, Centre for Workplace Mental Health (USA), publisher Citywire and the Charlie Waller Trust, of which the CISI Chairman Michael Cole-Fontayn MCSI is a trustee/patron.

The CISI portal highlights features which may be beneficial to managers relating to mental health eg How to create a workplace that supports mental health and 10 things an employee should know about mental health.

Information on work-life balance is available, focusing on how to balance professionalism and your social life, with sections and features on Why It’s Important, Exercise, Sleep, Mindfulness, Food and Relationships.

Other themes include How to deal with a busy workload, How to transform failure into success, How to cope with stress and How to navigate ethical dilemmas.

As an awarding body of over 80 exams, the CISI’s new portal also acknowledges and recognises the stresses and strains of its student population, in particular, many of those who may be studying and working simultaneously, with a section on Successful Ways To Study While Working.

A Pioneers page features professionals who have overcome their mental health challenges. This includes brave and revealing video interviews with Miles Keane, Executive Director, Entrepreneurs Division, Coutts Bank, Jonathan Phelan, Head of Retail Lending Supervision, FCA and Piers Connolly, a financial services investment banking professional of 25 years in the areas of risk and non-financial risk.

In addition, Pioneers includes links to those who work in the mental health and well-being space and features a video interview by Rebecca Aston, CISI’s Head of Professional Standards with consultant psychiatrist and CBT specialist Dr Stephen Pereira. Dr Pereira has practised for 33 years, with 75-80,000 consultations. He and his team have looked after those who work in the City for 25 years. He is best known for supporting Antonio Horta-Osorio, Chief Executive of Lloyds Banking Group after he received treatment for chronic insomnia in 2011, Prince William’s brother-in-law James Middleton and the broadcaster Tom Bradby.

Dr Pereira and Piers Connolly are also featured in a podcast, available on the portal, presented by Lora Benson, CISI’s Head of Media, which explores themes from CISI’s 2018 survey, with Piers revealing his very sensitive and personal mental health battle. Dr Pereira discusses Piers’ mental trauma in the wider, clinical context, with his observations on the causes of workplace stress, why businesses’ reactive, “fire prevention strategies” are not working, why more CEOs need to own this agenda, offering his views on why women are physiologically stronger than men and why he believes there is a looming mental health crisis in universities.

Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI and CISI CEO said: “According to MHFA England, mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year, the total cost of mental ill health in England is estimated at £1-5 billion per year and 75% of mental illness, excluding dementia, starts before aged 18. These shocking statistics speak for themselves and our 2018 inaugural survey into the mental health of our members demonstrated that work stress can be a key contributor to ill mental health, which can be largely controlled by both the leadership and culture within a firm.

“More firms in the financial services sector are showing real leadership for both their staff and the talent pipeline. Examples include Lloyds Banking Group Optimal Leadership Resilience Programme rolled out for 200 senior leaders and 2,000 managers and their Optimal You programme teaching 70,000 people the skills, tools and strategies, based on science, to minimise sickness and presenteeism.

“In addition Goldman Sachs and MIND have recently launched a mental health programme to provide a £1.5 million partnership for mental health support for universities.

“It is our aim with our mental health portal to support the conversation around mental health for those in the financial services profession, to end the stigma of speaking on these issues and provide a platform to support the important, brave and moving stories from individuals who have been affected by ill mental health in our sector.“

Head to the portal now: