Medibank launches new Family Program

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Medibank has teamed up with Smiling Mind to launch a new program to help foster positive mental health habits among Australian families.

Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit web and app-based meditation program developed by psychologists and educators.

Medibank said the launch of its new Family Program has been brought forward to cater for the spike in families seeking help as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It aims to make it easy for families to implement a mindfulness routine that will not only help them through the pandemic, but for many years to come," said the insurer in a statement.

Medibank and Smiling Mind said they commissioned three in-depth qualitative focus group studies, each taking place over three days, involving 101 Australian families.

The research revealed that families are looking for 'mindfulness tools' they can rely on in a situational or reactive manner to deal with stress related to school, finances, work, ill-health, personal psychology and family disharmony.

Families can access mindfulness and meditation exercises at a time and in a way that suits them via the program. Content is centred around key ‘Mindful Moments’ including mealtimes, bedtime, weekends and anytime.

CEO at Smiling Mind and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Addie Wootten, said the team were working hard to deliver families free and widely accessible online tools.

“Whether it’s adapting to rapid shifts in routine, navigating a new work-care juggle, or speaking with kids about the challenging realities of the COVID-19 world - families with children living at home are among those feeling the strain most acutely right now. We know they need support, and this is where our Family Program comes in.

“It’s important for parents to model behaviours to their children as this plays a pivotal role in fostering their wellbeing. By encouraging families to practice mindfulness together, the Family Program intends to help parents and children instil positive behaviours now and into the future,” said Dr Wootten.

According to Medibank chief customer officer, David Koczkar, “We are constantly looking for ways to help all Australians to eat, move and feel better. Over the past four weeks, we’ve seen people take steps to shift their daily routine to support not only their physical health, but their mental health too.

“We’ve been incredibly proud to support Smiling Mind for nearly a year, and work alongside them to help Australians build positive mental health habits now, that last well into the future.”