AMP has launched an updated mental health training program for staff and AMP advisers, developed in conjunction with mental health research organisation the Black Dog Institute, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 October).
The training module, originally developed for customer facing insurance staff, has been updated with improved tools and functionality and is now well above the FSC standard around mental health education in terms of the breadth of people able to access the training and the depth of content covered.
AMP Group Executive Insurance Megan Beer said mental health is a community issue and broad education and understanding is key.
"With one in five people suffering from mental illness at any given time, we are committed to the role we play not only as an insurer, but as an employer and an advice partner," she said.
The training is focussed on building the knowledge and skills needed to engage with people experiencing mental health issues. It is designed to give people the tools to manage difficult and challenging conversations so that they feel they can support the customer or colleague, including how to direct people to further help, while taking care of their own mental health.
AMP has worked with Black Dog on staff training for the past three years.
Ms Beer said in 2016 mental health was the top AMP claim condition for women and the second highest for men.
"Improving outcomes for customers impacted by mental health needs a holistic approach; a person's family, insurer, adviser and GP all need to be on the same page.
"This is why we're making this training as accessible as possible, beyond just customer facing insurance staff, by offering it to all our staff and AMP advisers," she said, adding:
"We need to focus on education and building awareness at a community level and bust the myths that are barriers to people seeking the help they need."
AMP recently submitted to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services a recommendation for an education program funded by Government and Industry to assist in raising awareness that customers who seek help for mental illness and are managing their conditions well will not be excluded from obtaining insurance.
Ms Beer added: "It's crucial people impacted by mental health issues get the help they need as early as possible. As an industry and as a community we need to ensure people are not afraid of seeking medical assistance because of concerns about insurance implications.
"AMP is committed to taking a leading role in advocating for better outcomes for customers managing mental health issues. Insurance is only one part of the picture, but we believe that together, we can work to raise awareness and obtain better outcomes for customers, their families and the general community."