Peter White: more brokers facing mental health issues

FBAA executive director on why the association is taking a leading role in supporting brokers facing mental health challenges

One in five people in Australia are now living with a mental health disability. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 45 per cent of people will experience a personal mental health disorder challenge in their lifetime. With that in mind, the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) has adopted a holistic advocacy position on mental health for the finance and mortgage broker industry.

A person’s thoughts, mood, behaviour or the way they see the world around them can be affected by mental illnesses. These disorders can alter a person’s ability to function normally at work, in relationships or in everyday tasks.

Anxiety, depression and substance use are the most common mental disorders.

Mental health challenges in the broker sector are increasing, and as such, the industry family needs to be supported at all times and especially when times get tough.

The FBAA is partnering with key stakeholders in the mental health field, as well as working with government, to help those in the wider finance sector who have been affected to talk openly about their challenges.

Having the conversation, “How are you going, are you okay?” with friends, family and colleagues is extremely important as people often feel they can’t talk about their challenges, or that others won’t understand. Because this is a whole of industry issue, assistance is available across the sector with the FBAA reaching out to all brokers, not just members.

The FBAA is taking this position because it knows how stressful the finance and mortgage industry can be. There are many within our sector suffering from mental health challenges; some have committed suicide because of it. It's all around us, so it is up to all of us to reach out and have that conversation.

The FBAA plans to launch multiple initiatives including special guest editorials and articles in its Broker Magazine and dedicated mental health discussion panels at the upcoming national industry conference on November 24 at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Hard rock icon and mental health ambassador Angry Anderson will speak at the conference about his own personal struggles with depression and mental illness.

These are just the first steps of a committed mental health awareness plan the FBAA will be rolling out over the next 12 months.

Peter White is the executive director of the FBAA and was invited by the Treasury to be present at the unveiling of this year's Federal Budget in Canberra. He has worked extensively with government and regulators and has a background in finance spanning almost four decades. 

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