Mentally Well Workplaces (MWW) is proud to have been selected to work with Deakin
University in co-designing an innovative client relationship building training program and
coordinating the delivery of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for up to 5,000
accountants and business advisors across Australia.
The program, known as Counting on U, is unique in how it incorporates avenues for
enhancing skills for sensitive conversations, whilst enabling advisors to identify underlying
client stressors before they reach a crisis. It is being run in conjunction with Mental Health
First Aid Australia, Beyond Blue, WorkSafe Victoria and various accounting bodies.
Deakin Business School researchers, Professors Andrew Noblet and George Tanewski,
successfully attracted the Department of Innovation, Science, Energy, and Resources
(DISER) grant, announced in the federal budget as part of the government’s COVID-19
Response Package to support mental health among small businesses, though the program
was in the making prior to COVID-19.
Amy Guest, Co-founder and Director of Mentally Well Workplaces said, “A key strength of
the funded project is the fact that DISER and NHMRC are evaluating the efficacy of
combining client relationship building training with mental health first aid training, which
will provide important information for future training within the workplace regardless of the
industry. We applaud Deakin for leading the way.”
Thomas Gray, a Chartered Accountant involved in the program said, “I look forward to
improving my skills in delivering advice to my clients particularly being more aware and
supportive of their mental well-being. I deal with a lot of small business owners and
professionals, if I can help one person with their mental well-being, I may never know what
impact that will have on them and in turn their community.”
The DISER 2020 Small Business and Mental Health report revealed that one in three small
business owners experienced stress, depression or anxiety over the past 12 months. Their
key concerns are finance, business viability and employee welfare. The study also found
that small business owners are reluctant to report stress or seek help.
Linny Hursthouse, one of 13 Counting on U Principal Master MHFA Instructors said, “The
Counting on U Program provides skills and knowledge that will assist financial professionals
to feel confident and competent in having a mental health conversation. I am passionate
about how this program is focused on helping and provides a skills-based framework to
conduct a person-centred conversation.”
Tina Winchester, Mental Health Director at MWW and Counting on U MHFA Trainer
Coordinator, explained that, “The Counting on U Program helps financial services
professionals grow their already solid relationships with SME clients.
Research consistently shows that people with financial difficulties have a higher risk of a
wide range of mental illnesses. The program that our team is proud to have co-designed
and facilitated, is suitable for and will benefit a range of employees working in financial
The Mentally Well Workplaces team look forward to continuing to coordinate the mental
health and client relationship building training throughout the year, which will assist with
important wellbeing research for small business advisers and owners in need, in-turn
helping their own clients, families and the finance industry as a whole.