The impact of the pandemic both on financial markets and individuals has been immense. The issue of mental health and anxiety is a societal problem amplified by COVID-19 that requires collaboration by super funds, insurers and employers. What training and resources are available to reduce the stigma of mental health and improve workplaces?
Damian Hill, Chief executive, CSC
Moderator: Colin Tate, Chief executive, Conexus Financial
- Promoting communication and connection are vital skills for leaders to combat the mental health fallout for staff and customers during the pandemic, says Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation chief executive Damian Hill.
- The 20-year super industry veteran stepped in “virtually” as CEO in July when CSC’s Sydney office was closed and the Canberra site, where most of the public sector and Australian Defence Force super fund’s 460 employees are based, was at half capacity.
- The former REST chief executive and inaugural chairman of mental health organisation SuperFriend, has been conscious of making sure staff and customers stay connected while the working world remains remote.
- In August, CSC partnered with SuperFriend to support customers and staff and help reduce the stigma associated with mental health, equipping people with important skills to thrive at work. It has also partnered with crisis support service Lifeline in October to do mental health training for CSC’s call centres to support customers in response to Lifeline’s forecast of suicide rates to increase by 50 per cent in the coming months. Calls to the service lifted by 30 per cent nationally during the pandemic.
- With one third of the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund’s 800,000 members in retirement phase, support was particularly important for those customers to remain connected while CSC made more than 700 calls to active contributors to offer free general financial advice as they were telling CSC they felt less financially secure during this time.