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Alison explains how Medibank is shining a light on mental health

When life gets hard, help from someone can make things a little bit easier. While support from family, friends, and colleagues can be great, speaking to a mental health professional can sometimes be the best option. Alison Sutton, Medibank’s mental health learning & development facilitator, has been with the company for 16 years with a deep understanding of why mental health matters.

Starting as a mental health professional on Medibank’s telephone triage lines, Alison built her career focussing on better understanding mental health.

“After working on the triage lines, I became the mental health clinical lead transitioning to clinical supervisor. Currently, I’m the mental health learning & development facilitator,” Alison says.

“I’m now responsible for the induction training programs across all of our mental health curriculums, from our counselling lines to mental health relapse prevention programs. In addition to this, I’m also responsible for the ongoing training and professional development courses.”

Team celebrating at a park

Alison with her Sydney team.

Medibank’s mental health programs aim to be accessible to all communities, no matter caller’s location or time of day.

“Most of the programs run 24/7 and are either free services or available for the cost of a local call. Our calls are answered by qualified counsellors and/or mental health professionals. They are available to provide support, information, and referrals.”

During her time at Medibank, Alison says she’s seen the focus on mental health increase and strengthen.

“Mental health has always  been a focus for Medibank. This aspect of health services makes us unique in comparison to other health funds.”

Colleagues catching up

Alison (left) with her mental health colleagues.

She says this focus applies to those who are having ongoing struggles, as well as those hit with sudden life events, such as a natural disaster.

“Environmental disasters such as the drought can trigger mental illness and exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Given our vast knowledge and expertise in telephone mental health services, Medibank and ahm were able to quickly and effectively launch a support line,” Alison says.

“We have also been able to provide financial relief to Medibank and ahm members who are living in drought-affected areas. We’ve always been very well placed to respond quickly to events in our communities, ensuring support is available.”

Working in the mental health space, Alison understands on top of her job responsibilities, it’s also important to keep her own mental health as well as her team’s, in check.

“I’m passionate about ensuring our clinicians are looking after their own mental health. It’s important to take time away from work every day to engage in meaningful hobbies, such as exercise, meditation, and reading.”

“We’re encouraged to take our allocated breaks, step away from the desk and engage with our colleagues. Medibank is always driving ongoing health initiatives to support us. ‘Better Health for Better Lives’ really is a part of our workplace culture,” she says.

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