September 28, 2020

Media Release: CSI secures Zurich and the Z Zurich Foundation to support research into mental health and wellbeing in a post-COVID environment

The Centre for Social Impact today announced a new research project to explore and analyse the state of mental health and wellbeing systems in Australia in the shadow of COVID-19.

The project is supported by Zurich Financial Services Australia (Zurich), through the Z Zurich Foundation, and will examine how mental health and wellbeing is faring in Australia. Anticipated to be completed within 9 months, it will produce the evidence and supports needed to build back better, as we adjust to living with the global pandemic.

The research project is part of the Centre’s Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector study, which will perform a series of deep-dives into social issue areas. The project is a large scale, national project which will monitor social issue areas over time, revealing what works, for whom, and when. CSI will leverage its considerable expertise and networks to reveal how to create a more impactful, inclusive, and sustainable future for all people in Australia.

It is proposed that the deep dive study into mental and health and wellbeing will focus around five phases and deliverables:

  1. Strategic context, including a brief analysis of the key issues currently facing the mental health system
  2. Problem definition, exploring emerging vulnerabilities and service needs
  3. A summary of promising practice and new models of support
  4. Roundtables and public workshops with key stakeholders across Australia; and
  5. A final report, synthesising all of the above.

CSI CEO, Professor Kristy Muir explained the importance of the research, and praised Zurich and the Z Zurich Foundation for its ambition in shifting the dial on mental health. “Mental health issues affect more than 20% of people in Australia in any given year, but with the advent of COVID-19, we can only expect that figure to worsen. We need a study that understands the sector’s capacity to respond to and improve mental health and wellbeing.

“We are thrilled that Zurich and the Z Zurich Foundation are supporting CSI to help produce this important work. We need to improve our understanding about policy and social responses to mental health and wellbeing in Australia, and we need to identify where the gaps are. More than producing the work alone, the Z Zurich Foundation’s support is demonstrating leadership in advancing evidence-based systems change.”

Zurich’s Head of Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs, Linda Griffin, said that funding the study was in line with one of the key pillars of the Z Zurich Foundation in improving wellbeing, with a specific focus on mental health. It also supported Zurich’s MindFIT program; a multi-faceted initiative educating Zurich employees and stakeholders on mental health issues. Furthermore, Zurich’s focus on mental wellbeing in Australia included work with advisers, customers, employees and community partners, including, Tackle Your Feelings, the Raise Foundation and Beyond Empathy.

“We believe that by supporting this important work, we will contribute to better equipping the For-Purpose sector in making a long-lasting impact on improving mental health in Australia. The Centre for Social Impact’s work is about creating more than a ‘band-aid’, it’s about changing the way we work to create positive impact. I’m excited that Zurich, with the support from the Z Zurich Foundation is a part of that vision.”

The Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector study has already issued its first survey. The mental health and wellbeing deep dive will also build on further qualitative and quantitative data collections, including focus groups, and individual interviews.

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