Australian business leaders open up about mental health


A collection of high-profile Australian business leaders have come together for a frank and open conversation about mental health and COVID-19. 

The MAN CHAT episode hosted by mental health solution provider Mindstar in partnership with health insurer Bupa and digital innovator Go1 has been released to the public as part of 2020 Mental Health Week.

The online panel features:

  • Bupa ANZ CEO, Hisham El-Ansary
  • Microsoft Australia Managing Director, Steven Worrall
  • Movember Director of Mental Health & Suicide Prevention, Dr Zac Seidler
  • Woolworths Group General Manager of Safety, Health & Wellbeing, Brian Long
  • Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds Foundation CEO, Lachlan Benson

Even at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems had been found to be at least twice as prevalent as in non-pandemic circumstances[1]. This means there has never been a more important time for leaders to focus on solutions that support employees and the wider Australian community, as we continue to live through this uncertain period.

Mindstar CEO and Man Chat series host Aaron Williams said the group came together with the common goal of providing some extra hope, practical tips and honest insights for Aussies who are feeling stressed during this challenging time.

“The health, financial and social uncertainties brought about by COVID-19 have been dramatic with millions of Australians feeling exhausted, stressed and anxious at home and at work.

“Having these high-profile Australian leaders take the time to come together, be honest and vulnerable about their own challenges and those of their team members sets a wonderful example to the broader public about the importance of maintaining and prioritising mental fitness,” said Mr Williams.

Bupa Australia & New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Hisham El-Ansary said promoting mental health resilience comes with displaying genuine care and empathy to all our people.

“It’s important to demonstrate vulnerability as a leader by having open conversations on how you’re feeling. Being authentic helps build trust and creates a psychologically safe environment for your people.

“I hope this willingness to have real conversations about mental health, like what I experienced on the Leaders Panel, will be an enduring feature of the way we live long after the pandemic is over,” said Mr El-Ansary.

Click here for further information on mental health resources.

[1] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/mental-health-people-australia-first-month-covid-19-restrictions-national-survey

Media reference number: 20/097