The Finance Broker Association of Australia (FBAA) is taking the lead as mental health ambassador for the finance and mortgage broker industry starting with a professional development day focused solely on mental health issues.

Corresponding with national ‘R U OK?’ day on September 14 , the FBAA is holding an event at the Melbourne Convention Centre which will be the first of a number of initiatives it’s planning for 2017 and 2018 and beyond to improve support for those facing mental health challenges.

Figures show one in five people are living with a mental health disability and 45 per cent of Australians will experience a personal mental health disorder challenge in their lifetime.

Partnering with key stakeholders in the mental health field, executive director Peter White wants the FBAA to pave the way forward and advocate for improved mental health support in the wider finance sector.

“This is our first step as the mental health advocate for the industry and we believe it’s a vitally important issue that needs to be addressed,” Mr White said.

“Mental health challenges in the broker sector are rising and we need to look after our industry family and make sure we can do everything we can to support them when times get tough.”

The day will include a number of presentations from mental health experts that will discuss dealing with mental health challenges in the workplace and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

The FBAA will launch multiple initiatives for the rest of the year 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.

Australian hard rock icon and mental health ambassador Angry Anderson is also scheduled to speak at the November conference about his own personal struggle against depression and mental illness.

Mr White says these are just the first steps of a committed mental health awareness plan the FBAA will be rolling out to support not just members but everyone in the finance and mortgage industry.

“We want to encourage everyone to talk openly about this subject to their friends and colleagues if they are facing challenges, as having the conversation is extremely important.”