A partnership between Mind Australia and Bupa health insurance has achieved significant reductions in client depression and anxiety levels in its first year.

The Mind-delivered Wellbeing4U support program, delivered as part of Bupa’s Mind Care Choices package, has reached more than 250 clients since it was launched in early 2020.

The program provides an alternative to a more traditional psychiatrist-led, hospital-based model of care.

Mind research shows that Wellbeing4U clients achieved an average 40-50 per cent reduction in depression and anxiety levels since accessing the program.

Patient Reported Outcome Measures* between April 2020 and July 2021 show that Bupa customers accessing the Mind delivered Wellbeing4U program on average achieved a 40 per cent reduction in severe or moderately severe depression. By the end of this period one in four of these clients fell below the cut off for even mild depression.

Across the same period, the same clients experienced an average 50 per cent reduction in severe or moderate anxiety.

Mind provides the Wellbeing4U support program as part of Bupa’s Mind Care Choices package. Bupa has developed Mind Care Choices to support eligible customers who have a diagnosed mental illness and have experienced one or more overnight hospital admissions for mental health treatment.

The Wellbeing4U program provides up to 12 months of recovery focused support to help clients identify positive life goals and develop plans to achieve them. It also help clients develop relapse prevention strategies to prevent further hospitalisations and provides further therapy as required.

“Wellbeing4U gives people the power to see their lives as worthy of having goals – daily goals, weekly goals, five year goals, family goals, career goals, better life goals,” said Mind Allied Health Clinician Esther Sidney.

“It is easy for people who have struggled with their mental health for a long time to lose hope, but we can help them find that hope when they didn’t know it existed or had given up on it.”

The program is being delivered to eligible Bupa customers in Queensland and Victoria via face to face and telehealth options, according to current COVID restrictions. The program is also available via telehealth to Bupa customers living in the Northern Territory.

Importantly, the Wellbeing4U program is delivered in the community, at home or via telehealth rather than in a hospital setting, as was previously the norm for health insurance-funded mental health supports.

“We want to ensure our members have a choice where their treatment and support is delivered,” said Kelly Johnstone, Bupa’s Strategic Partnerships and Mental Health Partnerships Liaison.

“We believe this service meets the real demand for alternatives to the traditional psychiatrist led, hospital-based model of care with the ultimate goal of helping patients live happy and fulfilling lives in the community.

“People experience less trauma and less stigma getting the support they need at home and they are not dislocated from their family and social supports.”

Ms Johnstone said Bupa research found that 87 per cent of their customers would prefer to receive mental health care in the community or in the comfort of their own home.

This is the first time Mind has partnered with a health insurer to deliver mental health support.

“Bupa is at the forefront of providing health insurance customers with access to community based mental health services that were previously only available in a hospital setting,” Mind CEO Gill Callister said.

“Mind is very proud to be partnering with Bupa to deliver these services, which also decrease the likelihood of further hospitalisations.”

“The Productivity Commission and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System have emphasised the therapeutic and economic benefits of an in-community model for mental health recovery. It is great to see the benefits of this model recognised and championed within the health insurance sector by Bupa.”

More information about Bupa’s Mind Care Choices program

* Mind Allied Health Wellbeing4You, Apr 2020‐Jul 2021 internal research prepared by Dr Nicola Guerin, Mind Research and Service Design team, September 2021