TAL’s Head of Mental Health, Glenn Baird, talks to you about the importance of being able to reflect on your personal mental health – and how this in turn can equip you to better help and support those of your clients who may have their own mental health conditions…
Mental health is a journey of learning to understand ourselves and make healthy choices that build resilience and help us live a fulfilling life. It is an incredibly important topic for us all to be aware so we can encourage conversations in an open and accepting environment and help people be well and thrive.
When it comes to financial advisers, understanding the importance of looking after mental health in everyday life can help them recognise the behaviour and communication needed to best support their customers. It’s not always easy to have conversations around sensitive topics and that’s why at TAL we believe it’s important that advisers are equipped with the right skills to adapt to the evolving mental health sector. This can enable advisers to provide their customers with the appropriate support they need, including advising on both the prevention and return to health of customers living with mental health conditions.
Education and awareness are key in helping to create an environment where people feel supported both professionally and personally. Being educated on the behaviours that can improve our mental health is important and having a workplace that is fostering these behaviours is important in seeing these actions become routine. Adviser education on mental health should be focused on raising awareness and providing helpful tools to start the conversation with their customers and create a safe space where they feel supported and understood.
…it’s important that advisers are equipped with the right skills to adapt to the evolving mental health sector
Advisers can be amongst the most trusted people in a customer’s life, and it’s critical that the advice profession continually seeks knowledge on the impact, positive and negative, that mental health can have on overall health and wellbeing, therefore equipping advisers to better manage customers’ needs.
Supporting our advisers both professionally and personally has never been more important. The environment continues to experience rapid change, with advisers facing widespread scrutiny, compliance pressures, higher education demands and reforms.
To help form a supportive network it is important for advisers to create and cultivate an open environment and encourage conversations around mental health. Mental Health does not need to be seen as a weakness. Requesting support from those around us is actually a sign of strength.
There are a number of ways advisers can initiate the conversation and help reassure customers that they are in an environment that is open and supportive. Leading by example and showing empathy are two good starting points. There is strength in being human, sharing our experiences, and encouraging employees and customers to do the same. Together, advisers, employees and their customers can drive change within the mental health space.
Glenn Baird is the Head of Mental Health at TAL where he currently leads TAL’s mental health strategy. Glenn has more than 14 years’ experience as a qualified psychotherapist, facilitator and trainer to various mental health stakeholder groups, such as beyondblue and LivingWorks Australia, which work to address issues associated with depression, anxiety, related mental disorders and suicide.