The MLC Community Foundation has announced a five-year funding commitment to not-for-profit organisation SuperFriend in a bid to promote positive mental health in the workplace.
Created by the Industry Funds Forum, SuperFriend is a national mental health promotion foundation that encourages superannuation funds to promote and support improved mental health and well-being for their members through the workplace.
The announcement sees MLC provide ongoing support for SuperFriend's initiatives in such areas as research, education, and advocacy.
SuperFriend chief executive officer, Margo Lydon, said the funding will help the foundation work towards reducing the incidence of suicide and the impact of mental illness on individuals, employers, friends, and families.
"We see the funding commitments from our supporters [like MLC] as recognition that SuperFriend is having an impact on improving mental health," Lydon said.
"MLC is going beyond just providing insurance; it adds value to its clients and their members by amplifying the conversation about what makes a mentally healthy workplace."
Lydon said a key aim for SuperFriend over the next five years will be to continue to expand the number of programs the foundation delivers, undertake further research into mental illness in the workplace and help raise awareness regarding mental health and well-being.
General manager of Corporate Institutional Wealth and MLC Community Foundation chair, Lara Bourguignon, argued that mental health in the workplace was a significant issue that was not being dealt with adequately.
"We know that one in five Australians are affected by some form of mental disorder every year, and many more people support friends or family members who are facing mental health issues," Bourguignon said.
"An organisation [needs to] help employers create a work environment that fosters positive mental health, as well as provide resources and assistance to achieve that."
Since 2008, the MLC Community Foundation — a philanthropic arm of the NAB Group — has invested over $7.3 million in not-for-profit organisations like SuperFriend to assist various mental health programs, including more than $3 million to Lifeline Australia.
In February this year, the MLC Community Foundation was awarded the inaugural Garvan Research Foundation Community Champion Award in recognition of its support for mental health research, with the Foundation looking to consolidate on its existing partnerships as part of its vision of "improving mental health outcomes for all Australians".