The Xero Assistance Programme: Expanded to provide free mental health support for over 200,000 struggling Aucklanders
In recent years, the month of November has become synonymous with the push to better New Zealand’s often concerning mental health outcomes. Through the hard work from organisations like the Movember foundation and Gumboot Friday, mental health awareness has inarguably never been more a part of the national conversation, particularly with the country still suffering the collective effects of several months of lockdown.
The message of ‘checking on your mates’ is one that is powerful in its own right and no doubt saved thousands of lives, but for some, it simply won’t be enough.
Despite the increase in discussion and public consciousness about the issue, the reality remains that for many, professional help is still incredibly difficult and costly to access. Ensuring professional counseling is available and accessible to those who need it, is without doubt a big part of changing our troubling statistics.
Recent months have been particularly harsh for small business owners, who have felt the intense economic consequences of the renewed lockdown restrictions.
“Lockdowns are tough for everyone, but especially for small business owners” argues Xero Managing Director for New Zealand & Pacific Islands Craig Hudson, who has seen first-hand the toll that the last few months have taken on many of his thousands of clients.
“There’s a huge weight on their shoulders with so many people relying on them including their families, staff and customers. With no clear end in sight, many are increasingly worried about their future livelihoods.”
Responding to the challenges of the day, Xero developed a programme designed to ensure those who have supported them with their patronage are given the support they need.
Their Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) is currently available to all Xero customers across Aotearoa, along with their staff and families – equating to more than one million Kiwis across the country. Now, Xero has expanded their offering to include all 200,000+ Auckland small business owners as well, until the end of the year.
Enabled through a collaboration with wellbeing provider Benestar, will offer free online, telephone or live chat counseling sessions for all Xero customers, as well as their staff and families.
Hudson wants all eligible parties to feel encouraged to take advantage of the services if they feel they need, without hesitancy; “At Xero, we understand the importance of taking care of your wellbeing. New Zealanders should see talking to a counsellor as a strength. It’s an active step towards taking better care of your wellbeing and strengthens your ability to take on all manner of challenges.”
The programme extension entitles every small business owner in Auckland up to three sessions until the end of the year, all completely free of charge. Xero has ensured that applying for the programme is incredibly fast and simple, taking away the complications of booking private care that can stand between people seeking help when they need it.
If the past few years have proven anything, it’s that the mental health epidemic will not be solved overnight. However, it’s forward thinking, compassionate organisational initiatives like XAP, that will go a long way to helping Kiwis push through this incredibly trying time.