When life's on the line

25 January 2019

A MetLife insurance claims assessor has credited SuperFriend’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Training for helping them support a member through a mental health crisis.

During a single phone call, the assessor identified that the member was experiencing a mental illness and asked targeted wellbeing questions before contacting the appropriate mental health support team on her behalf.

The assessor said their confidence in managing the call was largely due to the training they’d recently completed.

SuperFriend’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Training is available to superannuation and insurance workers and members and is delivered by registered psychologists. It equips participants, particularly those in customer-facing roles, with essential skills for supporting members experiencing mental ill-health.

This follows a rise in mental illness insurance claims within super, with mental illness now accounting for 15% of overall claim rates and 50% of claim costs.

Further, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report—Creating a mentally healthy workplace – Return on investment analysis—commissioned by the National Mental Health Commission, the Mentally Healthy Work Place Alliance and Beyond Blue, showed that people were likely to contact their insurer before taking their own lives.

Some of the key topics in SuperFriend’s training include mental illness signs and symptoms, handling crisis calls, building rapport and empathy, listening skills and referring members to support services.

“I didn’t go into the phone call expecting to have the conversation that took place,” the assessor said, when reflecting on the call.

“At the beginning of the call we spoke about her back pain and how that affected her ability to work.

“As the conversation progressed, I quickly realised the customer was experiencing significant difficulties due to her living situation and the impact it was having on her mental health.

Realising the member might need assistance, the assessor drew on their training to ask relevant questions to find out how they could help.

“As we continued with the phone call, she started to cry. She shared her mental health history and that she was working with case workers from a local hospital, who visited her on a weekly basis.”

Using their mental health training, the assessor then asked what she had done in the past under similar circumstances, which was to call her local hospital’s mental health unit.

“I told her I was going to transfer her to the hospital and let her regular doctor know about the conversation. She understood and was okay with that.

Going far beyond their normal duties, the assessor then called the mental health triage nurse, explained the situation, passed the member over to them and contacted the woman’s GP.

“I followed up with her the next week and she was feeling much better. I spoke about looking forward to seeing her grandchildren and other positive things.”

The assessor emphasised the SuperFriend Mental Health and Wellbeing Training they received as being vital to a successful outcome in this case.

“I felt confident and able to manage this call because of the training I’d received through SuperFriend.”

This article was featured in our monthly e-Newsletter SuperFriend News which provides practical advice for employers to in creating positive, cohesive and productive environments for all employees.