Mental Health in a Post-Pandemic World

Published: 9 Nov 2021

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At the start of the session, keynote speaker Gus Worland, media personality and founder of mental health initiative Gotcha4Life, was introduced by Catherine Carlyon, Country Manager for AXA XL in Australia who has always challenged unfair conventions throughout her career, such as not allowing female employees to wear trousers when she started off in the UK.

Gus focused on the key theme of mental fitness, discussing that just like physical fitness, mental fitness needs to be exercised regularly. He looked at three ways this can be achieved: by giving someone your time, by giving them communication and connection, and by leading with vulnerability.

Gus then held a powerful and confronting virtual discussion on strengthening mental fitness to counter-attack suicide. He shared a startling statistic: in Australia, seven men and three women lose their lives to suicide every day. Every year, 65,000 people attempt to take their own life. That equates to someone making a suicide attempt approximately every twenty-eight seconds.

The most important thing you can give someone is your time

Dive In attendees were asked to write down a list of people closest to them. Gus called it their “village” – the people they couldn’t live without. He then asked attendees to rank, out of 10, how they believed they were performing within that relationship. He said a number over seven was great. Any number below six meant that they needed to spend more time on that relationship.

Communication and connection are key

Gus then asked attendees to find one person in their mobile phones’ contact list that they hadn’t spoken to in at least three months. Attendees were asked to send this text message to that person:  I love you. I miss you. See you soon xoxo

He suggested sending this text to a different person in their contact list each week. As a result, fifty-two different people every year will get that text message and know someone is thinking of them.

Gus then went on to explain how working as a team, as a whole village, is very powerful. Similar to when colleagues meet in a boardroom for a project, it will always turn out better if there are more people working on it, as each person brings different skill sets and experiences to the table.

Lead with vulnerability

Gus then went on to discuss how talking about mental fitness can be very uncomfortable. He looked at how it helps to acknowledge the emotions that may come up before the conversation begins and that people will resonate with your authenticity and reflect that back.  He looked at how by showing vulnerabilities, you can create a safe space for others to share their own – they won’t feel comfortable opening up and sharing struggles if their leaders don’t. Gus rounded up the session by noting that if you throw “perfect” out of the window and show your human side as a leader, you will see success in both your business and personal lives.

AXA XL partnered with Gallagher and Clyde & Co to host this event.

For 24/7 crisis support or suicide prevention services, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

Access the full recent recording via the Dive In YouTube: