Demand for mental health training increases as Australians adjust to the ‘new normal’


Pippa Rose

SuperFriend, the national workplace mental health and wellbeing organisation, has seen increased demand for mental health and wellbeing training from Australian workplaces for their employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since social distancing measures were enforced in March, SuperFriend has seen a marked increase in demand for its support, delivering more than 80 mental health and wellbeing training and information sessions throughout the period.

The top industries seeking support for their employees during this challenging time include government, energy, and financial services — with over 80% of sessions delivered for the financial services sector alone.

Recognising the toll the last three months has taken on the media industry, SuperFriend hosted an exclusive training session for journalists on self-care and safe reporting on mental health, partnering with Mindframe, who advocate for safe reporting on suicide and mental ill-health.

“The pandemic is testing the mental health of Australian workers through ongoing challenges; changes to their work, whether through reduced hours or being laid off, working remotely or behind protective equipment, and job insecurity or financial stress” says Margo Lydon, Chief Executive Officer of SuperFriend.

“In a short space of time, there has been an increase in anxiety around physical safety and fear for loved ones, along with a decrease in financial and job security. On top of this, forced isolation means withdrawing from our usual social networks, exacerbating loneliness and often worsening existing mental health issues.

“It’s fairly common at the moment to have days when we aren’t feeling our best, as there are lots of things outside of our control at the moment. It’s more important now than ever to talk about mental health, especially around the challenges we’re all experiencing,” added Ms Lydon.

The Productivity Commission estimates that one in five Australians experience a mental health condition in any year and over their lifetime, with mental health costing Australian workplaces $17 billion every year.[1]
Ms Lydon notes, “Increasing understanding and literacy around signs of poor mental health, as well as strategies for improving mental health can help people to access support, ultimately minimising harm and building thriving workplaces. When people are well supported, it leads to increased productivity and profitability.”

Five ways to wellbeing

As part of its training, SuperFriend encourages Australian workers to implement five ‘try at home’ ways to strengthen their psychological health and reduce stress.

This ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ includes: Connect, Keep Learning, Take Notice, Be Active and Give. 



Pippa Rose, Head of Consulting at SuperFriend said: “It’s a good model to think about the things that you can engage in to support your wellbeing. These are things we can do at no cost, and are all evidence-based in supporting and improving wellbeing.

“Things like making time to connect with friends and family, learning and keeping our brains curious whether through an online course or learning a new language, staying active even if for a few minutes a day, and being aware of what’s happening around you. Reflecting daily on things you’re grateful for also goes a long way towards improving wellbeing.

Ms Rose believes mental health is complex and impacted by many factors that are inherently more difficult to identify and manage than those affecting physical health.

“However there are practical and effective actions that can help people to support their mental health and wellbeing. Simple steps, such as integrating the Five Ways to Wellbeing into your daily routine, can not only encourage healthy thinking but give you a sense of control, boost productivity and reduce stress in these uncertain times” she concluded.


You must be logged in to post or view comments.