Accuro launches free mental health aid

Press release from Accuro:

Accuro launches free mental health solution for more than 15,000 members

12 September 2019, Wellington

Easy and quick access to mental health diagnosis and support has been added to the range of services that Kiwis can call on from Accuro Health Insurance.

About 47% of New Zealanders will experience a mental illness and/or addiction at some time in their lives, with one in five people affected in any one year*.

“For many, issues such as depression or anxiety really affect their lives. Yet a lot of people don’t seek help or have issues with their treatment plan.” says Geoff Annals, CEO of Accuro Health Insurance, a not-for-profit health insurer based in Wellington. “The Government announced significant mental health funding this year, yet access to specialists can still be very limited, with long wait times, and can also be very expensive,”

“So Accuro is launching Mental Health Navigator in partnership with Best Doctors. First launched in Canada in 2016, Mental Health Navigator has since launched in Australia and will soon be available in Europe. Accuro members are amongst the first New Zealanders to have access to this service. Mental Health Navigator is completely free for Accuro members to use alongside their specialist insurance cover, which includes a $500 benefit towards further consultations with NZ registered psychologists and psychiatrists, should follow up be required.

The Mental Health Navigator is now available, for everyone covered by an Accuro Specialist Plan, aged 18+. It’s designed to break down barriers by providing fast, comprehensive and confidential access to a team of mental health professionals. A call to the Mental Health Navigator number will be answered by a specialist mental health nurse and followed up within 10-14 days by a video call with specialist psychologists and psychiatrists. This team can diagnose mental health conditions, develop a treatment plan, or act as a valuable second opinion. The mental health nurse then provides follow up support over the next 6-12 months.

“Fast access to diagnosis and treatment is an important part of people getting better before they get worse, and with typical wait times of two to six months through the public system, we feel access within two weeks can make a dramatic difference to a person’s wellbeing,” says Geoff Annals. “Mental Health Navigator is free, and people can access the service without having to leave their own home, an important detail for members who might be fearful of hospital appointments, or have trouble travelling to them.”

“This is the first time such a quick, easy and professional mental health support service has been available to New Zealanders through health insurance. The Accuro Mental Health Navigator joins Best Doctors, SkinVision, our wellbeing Health Hub and bowel cancer screening kits as active benefits that Accuro offers its members in supporting their health before they might need to call us. We call it Active Insurance,” adds Geoff Annals.


Voices of Hope

Voices of Hope had a stand at the FSC Conference this week and we thought it was a good idea to spread the word about the great work they are doing.


The mission of Voices of Hope is to provide hope for those struggling with mental health issues by promoting mental well-being, empowerment and recovery. You can check out their website here.

If you would like to make a donation you can do so on their Givealittle page here.


Australia: Mental illness claims for under 25's skyrocket

AIA Australia has stated that mental illness is now the biggest claim cause for TPD for clients under age 25. Predominantly for professional and white-collar workers, who are over twice as likely as their blue-collar peers.

"For young Australians from 2013 to 2017, 20 per cent of births were to a mother under 25, and more than 10 per cent to fathers under 25. More than two-thirds of households are also headed up by a person under 25 with debt, with a quarter of under 25s classified as ‘over-indebted’, meaning they have debt worth at least 75 per cent of their assets.”

Click here to read more. 

AIA celebrates its Centennial by partnering with the Mental Health Foundation

Press release from AIA below: 

Life and health insurer AIA celebrates its Centennial by partnering with the Mental Health Foundation

Significant donation to be used to support the provision of important mental health and wellbeing services in Christchurch as well as suicide prevention resources throughout New Zealand

Auckland, 5 April 2019.

AIA is celebrating its Centennial by joining forces with the Mental Health Foundation.  The partnership is aimed at raising awareness of mental wellbeing and the need for greater support across New Zealand. 

On Friday, around 1000 New Zealand-based AIA staff will take part in a 100km baton relay at their offices at Smales Farm in Auckland.  The charity relay is the first of a number of activities in AIA’s partnership with the Mental Health Foundation this year.

Having recently merged with Sovereign, one of New Zealand’s leading life and health insurers, AIA is actively focused on improving the health and wellbeing of its employees, customers, partners and all New Zealanders. 

AIA New Zealand CEO, Nick Stanhope said:

“We know that nearly half of New Zealanders will live with a mental illness at some point during their lifetime.  We also know that one-in-five New Zealanders life with mental illness each year.”

“They are shocking statistics, and by any standards, demonstrate the need for better mental health support services across New Zealand.”

“What’s more, despite the incredible progress in improving life expectancy and physical health, we still have high levels of mental illness across New Zealand.  Thankfully we have organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation. We’re thrilled to be working with them and to help bring important support services to those in need,” Mr Stanhope said.   

CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, Shaun Robinson said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the team from AIA. Our organisations are both in the business of wellbeing and we have been impressed by the level of commitment shown by the staff at AIA – a 100km baton relay is quite an achievement.”

“Right now the focus of the Foundation is on the people of Christchurch.  AIA’s donation will allow us to continue to offer our ‘All Right?’ resources to people in need in Canterbury as well as the provision of suicide prevention services throughout New Zealand.”

“We are very grateful for our partnership with AIA and I know our people in Christchurch and throughout the country will be very grateful too,” Mr Robinson said.   

At the end of the relay, with the help of their staff who have been fundraising throughout March, AIA will donate $100,000 to the Mental Health Foundation.      

For more details, for images or videos from the relay, or to arrange for an interview, please contact Craig Glover, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Communications, on 027 275 3405.



Mental Health and Work

Mental health problems account for nearly a third of all early deaths from accidental or external means, and our record is not good in the area of treatment. The high suicide rate New Zealand has compared to countries we consider our peers has been well publicised. Although New Zealand has a high labour market participation rate, and good health of all kinds is clearly important to being able to work, it is sometimes not well understood just how important work is to mental health. Here you can find the 'Mental Health and Work: New Zealand' OECD Assessment and Recommendations. It is a good digest especially for people interested in managing mental health treatment issues in income protection claims processes, or product design.

FSC Insurance Stream Update - Mental Health - Shifting mindsets

For those of you attending the FSC conference, this is one of a series of updates on our workshops.

Given rising trends in mental health awareness and diagnosis, how is the industry responding to the challenge? How could we contribute to improving mental health outcomes? Our panel will discuss strategies from acceptance to engagement.

Our talented panel will open up the subject from definition through to challenges and cover some more practical tips later in the session - as well as being open to some of your questions. This is great for expanding your background to a significant issue for underwriting, claims, and product design. It also links strongly to operational opportunities - leveraging more skills and views through a more diverse work place.

Panel participants include: 
Shelley Cox, Head of Adviser Distribution, AMP
Jackie McGuire, Managing Director, Umbrella
Fiona Knight, Staff Welfare Officer, NZ Police 
Aych McArdle, Community Advocate and LGBTI+ Human Rights Defender, Rainbow.


Click here for conference details.


AMP Mental health awareness campaign

AMP is partnering up with Key to Life Trust and Mike King to raise awareness of youth suicide rates in NZ. 'The I AM HOPE tour is about raising awareness and encouraging communities and individuals to drive the attitudinal and social change that is needed to reverse the incidence of suicide and depression.' Click here to hear more from Mike King on this.




Men, suicide, and four types of silence

Dr Chris Bowden from Victoria University has done some new research revealing that key aspect of young men’s experiences of suicide bereavement is ubiquitous silence. 'His research found the men experienced four types of silence following the suicide of a close friend: personal, private, public and analytic silence.' Click here to read more and to watch the interview with Dr Bowden.