For Ruth, a lack of understanding about her own ADHD is intrinsically linked to poor financial and mental health. “It was all tied together,” she says. “I ended up drinking and becoming addicted to codeine. I went through a really dark time. I can’t change what’s happened to me, but I can use my experiences to help others.”
Ruth now works to support people with mental health challenges, and advocates for people struggling with debt. Through her role with the Inclusive Design Panel, she’s also helping to shape a better banking service that works for everyone and provides the right support at the right time to help people avoid finding themselves in the situation that Ruth herself ended up in.
“When I was being made bankrupt, I didn’t tell anyone because of the shame around it,” she recalls. “There wasn’t the support there for me at the time – but that’s going back a number of years.
Making a difference through the Inclusive Design Panel
“I think there’s much more understanding there now and I actually think NatWest is making great strides - more so than other banks - in terms of saying ‘look, we’re here to help. We’re not here to make you feel worse. What can we do to improve your situation?’ I think that’s really important.”
As an active member of the Panel, Ruth has nothing but praise for the work that’s being done when it comes to creating a bank that works for everyone.
"I do feel like I’m making a difference [with the Inclusive Design Panel]. I know it’s not always possible to implement every suggestion– because not everything will be right for everyone – but I know we’re truly being listened to, and our feedback is being taken on board.
“It’s been a very positive experience for me,” she concludes. “It’s all about better understanding and for me, being able to have a voice with a view to being an agent of change – that’s really exciting.”