Mental health remains a growing area of concern within our industry – and it’s not just because of the volume of mental health claims. One in two Australians will at some point in time have a mental health issue, and it doesn’t discriminate.
This insightful, and at times confronting discussion provided a timely reminder that even those of us working in insurance and superannuation aren’t immune from mental health related illnesses and that it’s important to look out for one another.
Donna Thistlethwaite, Principal Consultant at Career Vitality began the conversation by sharing her story of her own mental health struggles, including a non-fatal suicide attempt in 2012.
She provided some insight into the mindset of someone suffering from severe depression and anxiety, along with examples on the key strategies she uses each day to take care of her mental wellbeing. When asked about how we can tackle this issue, Thistlethwaite said “I think normalising conversations about mental health is just critical.”
Patrick McGorry, Founder of Australians for Mental Health gave some insight into why we are experiencing a record number of suicides in Australia. He also highlighted the importance of keeping mental health in the public eye, despite the media trying to keep it under the carpet. “Telling the story is important,” he said, but “we need to tell the story in the right way.”
beyondblue’s Policy Adviser Kelly Wilson shared a case study of a woman in her mid-20s who was denied cover after disclosing prior mental health conditions caused by bullying as a teenager, despite having made a full recovery. Wilson asked the audience to consider the implications of the decisions we make in our line of work and challenged us to continue to think about how we can do things differently.
Margo Lydon, Chief Executive of SuperFriend also told the audience about some ambitious and exciting plans for the future. “We’re working very hard to create a national initiative for workplaces, where every business in this country will have a single source of truth about creating a mentally healthy workplace,” said Lydon.
On the Royal Commission, Lydon said “I think it is a very challenging time, there are a lot of very tired people who have been putting in huge efforts and huge hours for many, many months.
“The one thing that I’m most proud about in this industry is that we rally together… and we will support each other,” she said.
To find out more about the AIA Australia RestoreTM program, which assists members suffering mental ill health to return to wellness and work, contact your Client Development Manager.
To read more about the Summit, click one of the session topics below.