Newpark has confirmed Fidelity Life and nib have offered strong support for the dealer group’s recently launched HeadSpace, a mental health initiative for financial advisers.
Since October, HeadSpace has provided Newpark advisers with a range of resources and opportunities to support their mental health and wellbeing, partnering with organisations such as EAP Services and St John Ambulance.
Newpark stated it will continue adding to the offering but currently it includes:
- 3 free EAP sessions with a professional counsellor annually
- Access to St John Ambulance programmes, such as mental health first aid courses
- Money management webinars – soon to be introduced
- Resources including meditation apps and helplines
The counselling services program funded by the dealer group and provided by EAP Services allows advisers and an immediate family member if needed, practical assistance to overcome issues such as:
- Stress and pressure – personal or work
- Depression and anxiety
- Workplace issues and changes
- Bullying and harassment support
- Anger and conflict issues
- Relationship and family matters
- Grief and loss
Newpark Chief Executive, Melanie Purdey, explained they were very aware of the mental stresses currently upon advisers, as changes are being pushed through quickly, requiring advisers to learn what those changes are in a short space of time and how it impacts their day-to-day and how their role may change.
She said Newpark meets one-on-one with all their advisers, with many expressing the strain they are under or that they are suffering from stress-related illnesses or depression.
Purdey said they knew something had to be done that went beyond providing compliance and licensing support or business development support.
“We have to look after them because none of that means anything if they are unable to function at their top capacity because they are stressed and oppressed by all of the change and uncertainty that is with them right now,” she said, adding it was something Newpark could meaningfully do now that would support advisers where it really matters.
“You’re not going to be in a position to take in the learning that you need to change your business practices or your advice compliance if you are not in the right headspace to be able to do that, so we wanted to be able to give them that support.”
Purdey said one statistic in particular was part of the reason for the development of HeadSpace.
“Currently in Australia, the suicide rate amongst financial advisers (who have just gone through this change) is sitting at 11 times the national average,” she said “We couldn’t ignore that.”
“This is probably one of the most meaningful things we’ve been able to do in the last few months.”
She added that so far the response to Headspace has been very positive.
“I’m really excited that we just got a big bill from EAP which means people are using it and that means we hit the mark with it,” she said. “People are actually going and taking advantage of it and if that changes somebody’s life, even two people’s lives, we have more than done what we set out to do, so I’m really proud of that.”
Purdey especially noted this in regard to risk insurance advisers, as they are on the front line.
“If one of their clients has a claim it usually means they’ve just suffered a loss and often the advisers are the first person who has to deal with that and hear about it.”
She said the resources HeadSpace provides can also help advisers help their clients to a certain extent, from a mental health perspective.
“It’s been universally and unanimously positive,” said Purdey. “This is probably one of the most meaningful things we’ve been able to do in the last few months.”
Click here for further details on HeadSpace.