The CEO of a mortgage aggregator has stressed the importance of mental health among mortgage brokers on World Mental Health Day.
Choice Aggregation Services has urged the mortgage broking industry to be conscious of the mental health and well being of employees and colleagues, particularly given the upheaval caused by regulatory changes and the banking royal commission.
The NAB-owned mortgage aggregator’s CEO, Stephen Moore, said the industry is undergoing a period of significant change, and consequently many brokers will require additional assistance.
“As we all go through change at times, we need to be able to speak to someone, we need to be able to gain additional perspective, share views, and vent at times,” Mr Moore told The Adviser.
“It’s against that backdrop that we’ve been focused on ways that we can help drive awareness of mental health and build resilience in the broking market.”
His message coincides with World Mental Health Day, which is observed on 10 October.
Choice Aggregators partnered with not-for-profit suicide prevention organisation R U OK? in September in a bid to assist mortgage brokers deal with regulatory changes and the resulting uncertainty, as well as the fallout from the banking royal commission.
Under the partnership, Choice provides educational sessions on mental health and wellbeing as well as tips around exercising mindfulness.
“We also do a series of networking discussion groups, peer-to-peer learning and development days around broker support,” Mr Moore said.
NAB announced a mental health hotline for mortgage brokers in February, for those distressed by the wide-ranging recommendations made by the Hayne royal commission, which at the time included the elimination of broker commissions.
The bank, which comprises around 15 per cent of mortgage lending, had written to its accredited brokers offering three sessions either face-to-face or over the phone.
According to Mr Moore, the hotline extends to Choice brokers and their family members.
He said under the program brokers are encouraged to look for signs that an individual may require help, trust their gut instincts if they feel someone is showing signs of distress, and initiate conversations with that individual and ask them if they are OK.
“The reason why this resonates strongly with us is because that action alone of having a quality conversation with someone about their circumstances can make a fundamental difference in someone’s life and that’s something all of us can do,” Mr Moore said.
Under its partnership with R U OK? Choice plans to continue running programs focusing the theme of mindfulness over the next 12 months and beyond.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, or you’re worried about someone else and feel that urgent professional support is needed, contact your local doctor or one of the 24/7 crisis agencies, such as Lifeline: 13 11 14.