What do you get when you put one of Australia’s top entrepreneurs in a room with a former AFL Sports Science Manager, a technology innovator and a University? The answer to one of Australia’s most worrying – but silent – social crises.

Readiness, the result of a unique collaboration between four industries, is a complete digital wellbeing platform aimed at improving the mental health of Australians, but with a focus on proactively improving workplace-related mental wellbeing as well as reducing mental health issues experienced by students.

The platform was co-founded in Melbourne by Chairman, Gerry Ryan OAM, with former St Kilda FC Sports Science Manager, Simon Kearney and technology innovator, Paul Francis. It was launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is scientifically informed through its partnership with Swinburne University’s Centre for Mental Health.

“Depression, anxiety and suicide. Unfortunately, they are three words far too many Australians are familiar with, even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Mental health remains a growing issue in our country and we want to play a part in creating real change,” said Mr Kearney.

“Mental health is a topic that’s very close to me and I couldn’t just sit back and watch the crisis get worse. Our aim is to make a positive difference to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians,” Mr Ryan added.

And, it seems, Readiness couldn’t have come at a better time, especially given the effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

• 1 in 6 Australians are currently experiencing depression or anxiety – or both1
• Almost half – 45% – of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime1
• There are 12.6 million Australians in the workforce, making workplaces the ideal setting to promote and protect mental health2
• Suicide is a major public health issue that kills more than 3,000 people in Australia and continues to be the leading cause of death for young Australians3

Readiness uses strategies originated from elite sport and it works by monitoring and managing an employee or student’s mental health and physical wellbeing, which are done in a matter of minutes. The regular assessments cover topics including sleep, nutrition, stress and exercise to provide users with a complete and real picture of their health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, the platform gives users access to personalised solutions and preventative strategies such as educational resources, leading content, courses and tools to help them proactively manage their mental and physical health and avoid any potential issues before they occur.

“2020 has been particularly challenging for a lot of Australian employees and students. COVID-19 has changed the way we work, which can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental wellbeing. Readiness helps managers and teachers to support their staff and students, particularly those that are struggling with stress and other emotions,” said Mr Kearney.

“Readiness is important in any work setting, but it’s going to be even more critical as companies and businesses look to shift their employees to remote working.

“Programs like Readiness have been around in professional sport for a long time to help get a good understanding of the holistic health and wellbeing of athletes. Now, we’re bringing the same approach into workplaces and schools and our goal is to have the program in every business and classroom so we can build a healthier future for everyone,” he said.

Mr Ryan has invested $2 million towards Readiness’s partnership with Swinburne University to support the Centre for Mental Health’s commitment to research.

Readiness has joined forces with Swinburne’s Centre for Mental Health to improve the identification and treatment of mental health issues in Australia. As part of its partnership, 10 research work packages have been developed.

“Partnering with Swinburne’s Centre for Mental Health will pave the way for further research in this area and serve as a check and balance for our existing wellbeing packages, ultimately helping us drive innovation in mental health assessment and remediation,” Mr Ryan said.

For more information on Readiness, visit: http://www.readiness.org.au/

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3 Source: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/causes-death-australia/latest-release