PwC's Green Light to Talk program

Green Light to Talk was launched in 2018 to help create an open culture at the firm where people felt comfortable to talk about their mental health and knew how to access support if they needed it.

Published Mon, Aug 31, 2020

Mental health is an issue that touches so many of us, whether directly or through someone we know. Rates of depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm in Australian workplaces continue to rise at an alarming pace.

Australia spends over $9 billion each year on mental health, with psychological issues now the most common reason to visit your GP.

Driven by our purpose to build trust in society and solve important problems, PwC is committed to helping grow Australia’s mental wealth by:

  • Starting conversations: We all need to share our stories, voice our ideas and discuss ways that together we can grow our nation’s mental wealth.
  • Investing in new technologies: In partnership with the University of Sydney, PwC has invested in a new venture, Innowell Pty Ltd, which is developing transformative technology to help people and clinicians in the management of mental health and fitness.
  • Finding solutions: Drawing on our deep expertise in strategy and consulting, PwC is helping businesses, schools and universities build mental wealth.
  • Walking the talk: PwC actively supports a mental fitness and wellness agenda for its people by focusing on improving our level of conversation and awareness on mental health issues.
  • Making an impact: At PwC, social impact is all about harnessing the power of our skills, expertise and networks to deliver on our purpose. As a firm, we are making an impact on mental wealth by fostering and investing in collaborations between business, government and the community.

These five pillars underpin our firm’s Mental Wealth program founded by PwC Partner, Kristin Stubbins. Kristin also represents PwC in its role as a Founding Participant of CMHAA.

Personal stories Sep 10, 2020

Kristin Stubbins, PwC

Focus Support for managers, colleagues and staff

Green Light to Talk (2018 launch)

On World Mental Health Day (10 October, 2018) PwC launched Green Light to Talk (GLTT), a movement that began at PwC UK, and aims to dial up the dialogue around mental health at work.

As part of this, thirteen PwC partners became the first-ever Mental Health Advocates at the Australian firm. All had personal experiences of mental health, either first-hand or through a family member or friend, and were committed to supporting people who may be struggling with their own situation or worried about a colleague.

It was critical that it was the firm’s most senior leaders driving and endorsing this program to demonstrate the firm’s genuine commitment to the initiative. All 13 partners shared their personal stories at GLTT conversation events held around the country, in the firm’s internal e-newsletter and in videos which were hosted on the firm’s wellbeing intranet site.

PwC employees were given the “green light to talk” to any of these partners about their mental health and get in touch with them via email, phone or text to start a conversation. To help mark the launch, green ribbons were made available to staff to show their support for the program and signify the firm’s commitment to supporting mental wellness conversations.

In addition, PwC’s CEO at the time (Luke Sayers) provided his personal support and commitment for the program, encouraging staff to speak openly about mental health and reinforcing the support options available. This personal support was shared in a video profiled in the firm’s e-newsletter as a key component of the communication plan for launch.

Two of the firm’s Mental Health Partner Advocates also shared their stories publically to help start a broader conversation about the importance of talking about mental health in the workplace.

This included partner Judy Sullivan who spoke with the Australian Financial Review about stepping back from her client work to recover from an episode of depression. “It started with taking on too much, wanting to make everything perfect,” she said. “I think as a partner everyone had quite high expectations of me but I put even higher ones on myself.”

Judy’s full story and commitment to Green Light to Talk can be viewed below.

Green Light to Talk (2019): Over 200 mental health advocates

In October 2019, again on World Mental Health day, an additional 200 Green Light to Talk advocates from across the firm were launched. These advocates were all volunteers, representative of different grades, geographies and business units, who were trained in Mental Health First Aid, as well as domestic and family violence support. These advocates wear green lanyards to signify their openness to having supportive conversations and that they are trained to do so.

Revolutionaries of Wellbeing - Episode 12: "Green Light to Talk" - Mental health at PwC

Next Steps

PwC plans to obtain the Gold level award in Mental Health First Aid Australia’s Skilled Workplace Program by reaching the 3% target for trained mental health first aiders by October 2020. The continued support of this community is paramount, with the advocates playing a critical role in PwC’s mental health response during COVID-19. Fortnightly “Community GLTT Connections” occur to hear directly from the community about the types of issues and challenges their colleagues are raising, to provide professional support and to keep open communication flows on key wellbeing matters.

PwC’s recent strategic review of mental health indicated that people were incredibly appreciative of the effort and focus the firm had placed to create psychological safety and reduce the stigma associated with conversations about mental ill-health. The ongoing challenge will be to drive higher levels of consistent experience so that every person within the PwC community feels safe to have conversations about their mental well-being and aware where to access support in times of need.

Download GLTT resources

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