National dealer group Affinia Financial Advisers is calling on financial advice and planning practices to take greater action to deal with the effects of mental health.
Affinia General Manager Craig Parker said mental health and stress affects both practitioners and clients and he would like to see the advice community take a greater role in helping to deal with and manage the effects.
“Awareness is often the best starting place and I believe there is a need for the advice profession to continually explore the sorts of impact mental health and stress can have both at practice level in terms of employee health and wellbeing, and in terms of better managing our clients,” he said.
The call to action comes after the recent national Mental Health Week which coincided with World Mental Health Day and the increased focus on men’s health this month as part of Movember.
Affinia recently conducted a number of information sessions as part of a staff development day to help not just raise awareness about and demystify mental health and stress, but to provide actionable tips and tactics. This involved presentations from the Black Dog Institute, TAL Claims Expert Services Manager Karen Hunt and Kasia Gordon of Cause Effect Psychology, a psychologist who specialises in workplace and clinical settings and supervises psychology students at Griffith University.
One of Affinia’s Queensland practices, Insuraplan had been working with Kasia initially to help staff better work with clients who were dealing with mental health issues. Insuraplan Managing Director Don Fessey said the benefits in dealing with clients soon became clear but he also saw the benefit of helping his staff manage their own stress and mental health issues.
“We started off discussing how we can better support our network and their clients, however quickly realised the benefits of ensuring we also were properly checking in and managing our own mental health,” Don said.
A recent report by mental health advocacy group linked to the superannuation industry, SuperFriend, found that mental illness and suicide represent 10% of all insurance claims in super, rising to over 25% for some demographics.
Craig said “It is just so important for the advice community to have a clear understanding of mental health and stress in order to better understand clients’ circumstances and to intimately provide them with the best service possible. Having the right type of conversation with a client can ensure, for example, that all relevant disclosures are made at application time. And helping clients at claim time in relation to mental illness is also a crucial time of support and service.”
While awareness of mental health has risen significantly in over recent years, Craig would like to see the industry take a greater role to build on that awareness.
“We need to have open conversations about mental health issues and recognise that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. This can be challenging but it will ensure that we are creating the best environment for ourselves, our family and friends, our staff and colleagues and of course, our clients.
Affinia recently raised $12,500 for the Black Dog Institute at their annual adviser conference held in Tokyo.
Stuart Snell E firstname.lastname@example.org T +61 2 9448 9879 M +61 417 921 235