Written by Rebecca Crimean, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Australia and New Zealand
Through partnerships, initiatives and programmes, and our Bupa Health Foundation, we work alongside others to help our local communities be healthier.
These partnerships are the driving force behind how we engage with our communities and help them live healthier lives. By better understanding their specific needs we’re able to focus on making a bigger impact where it matters most.
This past year we’ve focused our work on improving mental health, raising awareness and encouraging open conversations, and targeted specific health challenges faced by some of our local community groups. We’ve also furthered our commitment to ending Rheumatic Heart Disease as part of our Reconciliation Action Plan.
As well as our flagship initiatives, our people are passionate about engaging in community projects and volunteer days to help bring about positive change. Most recently, we applied our clinical skills and donated free flu vaccinations to Big Issue vendors in Melbourne.
Improving health also means mental and emotional health, which is increasingly important to our people, customers and communities. In 2018, we partnered with Kids Helpline to support children develop tools and skills to help them cope with life’s challenges. The Kids Helpline @ School (KAS) Wellbeing programme delivers interactive workshops to help children with things like developing resilience, managing emotions and transitioning to high school. The programme was an overwhelming success in its first year, initially aimed to reach up to 10,000 children, we reached more than 200 schools and helped over 15,000 students.
Internally with our people, we are also raising awareness of suicide prevention and the importance of having supportive conversations through our participation in R U OK? Day. in 2018, there was a 30% increase in participation within our business. It’s great to see so many of our people engaging and talking about mental health.
Alongside this, the Bupa Health Foundation has granted $AUD one million in funding to organisations researching innovative ways to improve mental health care in Australia. These organisations are exploring how to embrace digital, data, and community-led programmes to deliver healthcare more affordably and sustainably.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a core part of our community strategy. We have launched our second RAP, which includes a commitment to help end rheumatic heart disease by reducing the incidence of Strep A infections, and close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As part of the Plan we are also proud to be a 10x10 partner with the CareerTrackers internship program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students, committing to 10 internships a year for 10 years, and launched a scholarship to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women at university. I’m really excited about the opportunities the CareerTrackers programme provides students as well as the added value brought by having a more inclusive culture.
In New Zealand, in our retirement village and aged care businesses, we’ve focused on improving access to services for people living with dementia. There are currently 70,000 New Zealanders living with dementia, with the number expected to rise to 170,000 by 2050. This year we become the first aged care provider to be awarded the national Alzheimers New Zealand Dementia Friendly Award and we hope this will pave the way for others.
By focussing on areas that matter most to our communities, customers and employees, together we can make difference.