Reinventing wellbeing and mental health support at one of Australia’s best-known banking groups.
Good Mood Group worked with a global banking group’s wellbeing team to help reshape its approach to mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
While the board fully supported wellbeing initiatives intended to build awareness and create conversations around mental health and suicide, including whole-of-office morning teas, awareness days such as RUOK Day, keynote speakers, and yellow balloons throughout each office, there was feedback that this approach was not meeting objectives and was actually triggering for some staff who were sensitive to the topic.
The organisation agreed to withdraw from ‘celebration’ style initiatives but was unsure as to what they could do to achieve true engagement with mental health and suicide awareness.
The challenge here was to move beyond ad hoc awareness initiatives or, at the other end of the spectrum, the EAP approach where discussion around mental health is deferred to a counselor or psychologist.
From awareness to literacy
Working with Good Mood Group, the organisation was able to reposition its focus on mental health, creating a culture of understanding and literacy rather than simply support and awareness. In addition, the approach offered a range of interventions and activities for individuals to engage in to become more aware of and support their own mental health.
Our approach included:
Structuring a solution rather than an event
Instead of one-off awareness initiatives, or an impactful keynote, Good Mood Group proposed and structured a program. Rather than one or two days in focus, mental health now had a year of initiatives with 30 days in the spotlight (for the same budget).
A birdseye view
Helping the organisation understand that each one of their employees will experience different levels of mental health and mental ill-health at different times throughout their career. We then identified possible psychosocial risks that could be impacting employees' mental health within the organistaion and the different levels of intervention that could be implemented to fully support their employees.
One of the most profound ways we have of unconsciously altering mindsets and attitudes is through language. Ensuring all messaging around mental health was crafted carefully to reflect the latest advice was important to minimising any negative perceptions around mental health and normalising discussion around issues relating to it. Education around what language to use was also critical in explaining why these changes were needed.
Pairing research with lived experience
Ensuring there was access to evidence-based research and interventions was important, but we know lived-experience creates emotional connection. Working with Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute we ensured there was a good mix of both in the program.
Stories to engage with
Sharing stories via a psychologist-led panel of internal speakers sharing their own personal experiences with mental health and ill health. With more than 250 live participants from the one office, it was clear this initiative created a high level of engagement at all levels.
A spirit of fun
To overcome the seriousness of the topic, which is a barrier to open discussion, Good Mood Group worked with each office to create initiatives which were fun to engage with. Yes, the petting zoo made a mess - but the CEO loved holding the lamb and the interest generated was well beyond anything the organisation had expected.
Something for everyone
Together with key events, Good Mood Group assembled a suite of resources, articles and podcasts that meant there was a format and topic that could resonate with anyone, and that was accessible regardless of how or when someone worked - hybrid or remote environments.
The result was a holistic solution backed by the latest research, in particular around terminology and connection. Along with an extremely well received tailored program of events, pre-vetted high-quality speakers and partners, this solution enabled meaningful connections with colleagues, and an understanding of internal and external health supports.
What's more, all of the program components seamlessly integrated into the bank's Employee Wellbeing App, custom designed by Good Mood Group. Unlike other off-the-shelf products, the app was tailored to the organisation’s existing technology, meaning new capabilities, features and integrations could be designed according to its priorities and needs.
What next? From pilot to global rollout
After our first year, the Australian division-based pilot was so successful that the initiative was rolled out nationally and then globally, supported by collaboration with organisations such as Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue.
To date, programs have been supported with keynotes by contacts pre-vetted and sourced by Good Mood Group including Prof Sam Harvey, Executive Director and Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute and Prof Nick Glozier from the University of Sydney, among others.
The program was supported digitally via a custom built wellbeing app meaning the program was scalable to thousands of employees across Australia and beyond.
The organisation also found it valuable to have a strategy behind this core area of wellbeing which enabled it to be assertive in its selection of some fundraising/awareness initiatives over others.
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