The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) has launched a mental health program centred around how to engage and support those in crisis.
The program, entitled ‘Accidental Counsellor’ and created in collaboration with Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury, aims to provide greater support and guidance to brokers as the industry responds to the impact of COVID-19 and the recent bushfires.
As the “largest frontline force” in the mortgage and SME finance industry, brokers are likely to come into contact with men and women struggling due to mental illness, suicide, domestic violence, financial crisis, serious illness, or other loss.
“In this current period of COVID-19 uncertainty and emotional and financial upheaval, our entire broking community is engaging directly with distressed customers, colleagues, friends and family, as well as experiencing a high level of stress themselves,” said MFAA CEO Mike Felton.
“Many brokers may be uncertain as to how to respond in the most appropriate, compassionate and empathetic way.
“[But] now, more than ever, it is critical to have the skills to respond to someone who is struggling to cope, especially when you aren’t - and are not expected to be - a trained counsellor.”
The series of live digital events has been crafted to help brokers recognise when their customers or others are struggling or in crisis, to know how to respond in an appropriate way, and to help those in distress take the next steps to get the support they need.
The program will run through April and be delivered by a qualified Lifeline trainer, who is also an experienced 13 11 14 crisis supporter from Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury, and be delivered via skills-based events facilitated by Zoom videoconferencing.
“Mental health continues to be a priority issue for the MFAA, and brokers can play a big role in supporting the community and each other with these issues,” said Felton.
The program is available to both MFAA members and non-members, with the former to be awarded 2.5 CPD hours. Interested parties can register on the MFAA website.