Date posted: 04/05/2021 5 min read

Support for members affected by COVID-19

Around-the-clock support is available to members experiencing mental distress, including for bereavement, personal loss and isolation due to COVID-19

In Brief

  • The service may be accessed by CA ANZ members and their families
  • The counselling is confidential and free of charge
  • The service endeavours to match expert counselling with member needs

Basu Banka CA has been watching the havoc COVID-19 has been wreaking across his birth country of India with growing distress.

Banka has been forced to watch on helplessly from his Canberra home even as he lost family members and close friends succumbed to the disease as travel to and from India remains restricted.

It is an emotional time for Banka and for many other of members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand who have roots in countries where the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives.

India has been in featured heavily in the news as a new, more lethal triple mutation has left patients gasping for oxygen and scrambling for life-saving medical support.

“It is an emotional time for everyone, and heart-breaking to not be physically present with my extended family and friends back in India,” Banka says.

“We have been forced to cancel our travel tickets to India twice in the past 10 months. It was quite distressing to have my wife partake in the rituals at the passing of my mother in-law over Facetime.”

He adds that many in his Canberra circle were also grappling with emotional and mental health issues.

Banka is appreciative of services like the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is available free of cost to all members of CA ANZ across the world.


Talking through your emotions with an expert helps to unpack them and get them off your chest.
Basu Banka CA


The EAP can provide around-the-clock professional counsellors and psychologists who offer confidential short-term, early intervention and solution-focused support for all forms of mental distress, including for bereavement, personal loss and isolation due to COVID-19.

The program is open to CA ANZ members and their families. Up to three sessions are provided free of charge.

“They provide timely support for people who may need it. I have attended a few sessions,” Banka says. “While they may not be able to provide you with a solution, talking through your emotions with an expert helps to unpack them and get them off your chest.”

Others concur. “My family and I found it to be very helpful,” one member who wishes to remain anonymous says.

“Once you have explained the situation, they try to match you up with a counsellor who has prior experience in dealing with those set of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, bereavement etc.

“In our case, I found the counsellor spoke in a way that established an immediate connect. The counsellor legitimised our feelings and emotions, so we felt heard and supported. It is a very powerful tool to access.”

To access the service, call Converge International on 1300 687 327 (Australia), or EAP New Zealand on 0800 327 669 (NZ).  

Members outside of Australia and New Zealand can call +613 8620 5300 (an Australian number) and request a call back, which CA ANZ will pay for.  

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