Tags: Health Mental health Real Wellbeing factors Real Wellbeing storytelling

“Good mental health is the foundation of your wellbeing. It fosters not just an ability to overcome challenges, but also builds resilience, and helps shape strong relationships.”—Mike Hutton-Squire, Executive General Manager for Remedy Healthcare.

Key points

  • Mental health is an issue for many Australians and if left untreated can become a chronic illness.
  • The MindStep program helps people improve their mental health with a six- to eight-week phone or online-based program.
  • MindStep’s approach uses specialised and easy-to-understand methods to help you manage your mental wellbeing.

The figures around mental health in Australia show just how widespread the subject is.

According to beyondblue, more than 3 million Australians will experience depression or anxiety in any given year. 

The national mental health organisation adds that if left untreated, even the mildest symptoms can develop into chronic long-term illness.

However, the evidence-based program MindStep is providing support for Australians, helping them move through their experiences of depression and anxiety, and navigating their way towards recovery.

MindStep is a six-week phone-based or online program that empowers you to manage your mental health on your own terms and in the privacy of your own home. 

Delivered through our Remedy Healthcare division, MindStep is based on a therapy called low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which looks at understanding your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. 

Eligible participants can speak with specially trained mental health coaches as part of confidential programs designed to support people in adjusting to life’s challenges and uncertainties.

Older man sitting on couch looking at phone screen

Around 75% of all graduates either show a measurable improvement in their mental health or recover completely. Patient feedback and program reports are overwhelmingly positive.

According to Mike Hutton-Squire, Executive General Manager for Remedy Healthcare, there are many practical CBT techniques that can be very helpful in attaining good mental health.

“People often say they wish they’d known about them earlier,” he says.

“Even if we’re experiencing good mental health, these strategies can be learned and applied to everyday situations.”

How does MindStep work?

Ruby Wolinska, MindStep Coach for Remedy Healthcare, says factors such as isolation, stress and anxiety can all affect our mental health, and MindStep’s approach uses specialised and easy-to-understand methods to help you manage your mental wellbeing.

“MindStep employs a CBT-based approach to improving common mental health problems that anyone may face, particularly during difficult times like these,” Ruby says. 

“The program features structured, educational tasks and each participant is supported through coaching sessions to engage and try new ways of managing their symptoms.”

There are two programs available, which are run over six to eight weeks with support from a MindStep Coach. One is based on completion of online CBT modules, and the other involves weekly telephone sessions.

To determine which program is appropriate, participants undertake a questionnaire and assessment.

This assessment gathers information about a participant’s main area of concern, whether it’s stress, low mood or low motivation, difficulties managing chronic pain, or symptoms of anxiety. 

The MindStep coach and patient work together to identify where positive changes can be made and how simple adjustments can have great benefits. Finally, a discussion is had about the aims and goals the participant would like to work toward. 

For those who are assessed with milder psychometric scores, the MindStep online program has proved to be ideal.

“The key advantage of this program is that clients may access it at any time to work through a series of online lessons, making it very flexible,” Ruby says. \

“MindStep online is complemented by check-in calls from MindStep coaches to provide comprehensive support and engagement.”

Ralph’s journey to better mental health

For Ralph Guice, the spark that ignited his very being had gone out. 

Following a family tragedy, Ralph says, “I was about as low as you could go at that point.” 

Ralph wasn’t enjoying his art, he wasn’t enjoying working on his car, and he wasn’t enjoying being around other people.  

“There’s no question, my mental health was in a parlous state,” he says. “I wasn’t participating in things; I was angry at the world.”

And that’s when MindStep came through to help.

Despite initially feeling undeserving of receiving assistance, Ralph soon had his doubts dispelled.

“It just felt terrific to know there was someone else there apart from family and friends thinking about me,” he says. “I feel so much more positive than two years ago, in the middle of that deep, deep depression.”

Undertaking the MindStep course, Ralph discovered how not just his mental health but also his overall wellbeing improved over time.

“MindStep worked because it came along—not only was it a great program—it came along at the right time,” he says. 

“Setting those goals over time did make me have better habits, better way of coping with each day and getting through each day and enjoying each day.

“I can't tell you, I can only explain how I feel and that is much, much, much better. The MindStep program was tremendously significant in getting me there.”

Mental health and COVID-19

It’s really important to keep meeting our core needs during this time and it pays to get creative! 

If lockdown restrictions are in place in your state or territory, visiting family and friends might not be possible, so it helps to find ways to catch up online. 

Try different ways of getting exercise like going for walks or trial a new form of fitness from home. It’s an opportunity to start new hobbies or play board games and even practice some new cooking skills. 

“Limiting our news time and getting into a regular routine is also important,” Ruby says. “Getting a routine may be as simple as waking up at the same time each morning or continuing to pack our children’s lunch boxes even if they are home schooling. 

“Fostering a sense of normality is really important during this time and helps maintain our sense of control and safety. Above all, be kind to yourself. There are new challenges for everyone and we are all in this together.”

Mike Hutton-Squire agrees that if the new tricks and hobbies aren’t effective, then being fair with the expectations you put on yourself is key.

“This can really help with stress levels,” Mike says. “Having problem-solving strategies up your sleeve to use in challenging situations can be helpful. ‘What’s in my control in this situation?’ is a great question to ask yourself and helps you decide where to put your energy.”

Am I eligible for MindStep?

Australian Unity members with eligible Hospital Cover (or Hospital Cover with Extras) can apply to access the MindStep program.

Please check your product Fact Sheet to see if you’re covered, then contact the MindStep team on 1800 322 278 to confirm your eligibility, or visit remedyhealthcare.com.au/welcome-to-mindstep to arrange a call at your preferred time.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.

Remedy Healthcare Group Pty Limited and Australian Unity Health Limited are wholly owned subsidiaries of Australian Unity Limited. An Australian Unity health partner, Remedy Healthcare provides targeted, solution-oriented healthcare that is based on clinically proven techniques. For more than 10 years, Remedy Healthcare has worked with more than 100,000 Australians – helping them to manage their health through caring, coaching, empowerment and support.