Tags: Health Mental health WellPlan

“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.” – Ruby Wolinska, MindStep Coach for Remedy Healthcare.

In these challenging times, our mental health is, more than ever, crucial to our health and wellbeing. 

Statistics show just how widespread mental health issues are, and how the effects on everyday life can be so devastating.

Every year, more than two million Australians will experience some level of anxiety; at the same time, more than one million will reportsymptoms of depression.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, from our ways of exercising, to seeing our friends and family, and even how we access health care. 

Working from home has been a big adjustment for many people as well. Some common challenges include feelings of isolation, disruption of routine, stress, and fears about the future.

That’s why the MindStep® program is such an important part of our member services.

Older man sitting on couch looking at mobile phone

What is MindStep?

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 healthcare partner, Remedy Healthcare, it is based on a therapy called low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which looks at understanding your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. 

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

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.”

How does MindStep work?

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

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 worktogether to identify where positive changes can be made and how simple adjustments can have great benefits. Finally, a discussion is had about the participant’s aims and goals they 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 saysMindStep online is complemented by check-in calls from MindStep coaches to provide comprehensive support and engagement.

What else can I do to assist my mental health during COVID-19?

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

With lockdown and curfew restrictions in place in Victoria, visiting family and friends isn’t possible, so we need to find ways to catch up online, such as Netflix or Zoom parties. 

We can try out different ways of getting exercise like going for walks (stay at home restrictions may apply, check with your State or Territory health department for the latest details) or trying out a new form of fitness from home. We can also start new hobbies or 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.

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