Mental health pilot success

The success of two pilot events has led to a commitment for workshops

Mental health pilot success


By Rebecca Pike

A group of brokers and industry professionals have trialled a workshop intended to equip them with the training and insight required when they encounter a client with mental health issues.

Having been met with resounding support by those who attended, the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) have committed to the program for the next 12 months.

It was organised by the industry association in conjunction with Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury and sponsored by Connective.

The half-day pilot events were designed to give brokers a snapshot into what they could do as ‘accidental councillors’ in terms of identifying an issue, responding and then referring to the appropriate professionals.

Held in Melbourne and Sydney the sessions discussed often confronting topics, such as depression, suicide and domestic violence.

The workshops were delivered by a qualified Lifeline trainer who is also an accredited crisis supporter on Lifeline’s 13 11 14 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention line.

The MFAA recognised a potential need for sessions such as this, as brokers continue to represent the largest frontline force in the mortgage industry and are responsible for more than half of all home loans, and growing.

Not only customer interaction, but with mental health concerns in the mortgage broking industry itself, brokers are in contact with colleagues who may be struggling, not to mention family and friends outside the industry.

MFAA CEO Mike Felton was at both sessions and said the response was incredible, so much so they committed to another 12 months without hesitation.

A key message iterated at the session and by Felton himself, was that the sessions were not in any way enabling brokers to be counsellors, but simply to provide them with the abilities necessary to identify and respond appropriately.

Felton said, “Brokers, in particular, are in a position nearly every day where they are interacting with the public, reviewing personal and financial information, and building relationships of trust.

“During these meetings a broker might recognise that someone needs help and, with the right training, they might be able to guide that person to seek assistance that can improve their mental health and wellbeing, potentially making a big difference to those that may be vulnerable within our community.

“It's important to remember that these skills do not equip the broker to be a counsellor, but instead provide them with the abilities to recognise someone in crisis, respond in an appropriate and compassionate manner in the moment and refer them to appropriate support.”

If you already know someone who might require assistance, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!