Former Victorian premier and founder of Beyond Blue, Jeff Kennett, has congratulated the real estate industry for acting to address the issue of mental health with the launch of the Real Care app.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Kennett said Real Care was “an extraordinary effort”.
Mr Kennett, who has spent more than 25 years elevating the issues of anxiety and suicide, said: “Hopefully, this app will be carried by every real estate agent, and they will share it with their families.”
Real Care has been designed to prevent anxiety, depression and suicide among real estate agents in Australia and New Zealand. It is the first project of the Rise Initiative, an organisation that brings together senior real estate professionals in a voluntary capacity to heighten awareness of work-related anxiety and burn-out.
Real Care is based on similar technology provided to police officers across Australia. It has been created with Melbourne-based developer Utility Creative after extensive research of real estate agents in Australia and New Zealand.
The research of more than 1,000 respondents by the Revive Project found two out of five agents feel “overwhelmed” by their work. It also found some 65 per cent of agents reported physical symptoms caused by job-related stress and anxiety.
In addition, 26 per cent said they used alcohol to cope with stress, and 7.5 per cent said they’ve resorted to illegal, recreational drugs.
Mr Kennett said: “Admitting an issue exists is the first step to recovery. I look forward to seeing this app work for everyone in the industry. Thank you to Rise for going to an extraordinary effort.”
The Real Care app focuses on the core causes of depression, stress and anxiety among real estate agents – reliability of income, consistency of commissions, and how to manage personal finances during the peaks and troughs and business.
In the app, agents are encouraged to enter their income and outgoings to provide a real-world view of their financial position.
The app also allows agents to monitor stress and anxiety levels through a self-reporting format, and it provides details of where to find professional help in the event they feel overwhelmed.
A third element of Real Care is the recommendation of physical exercises that can relieve symptoms of stress.