Beyond Blue hopes to support the mental health of the nation’s 2.2 million-plus small business owners with the release of a new mental health guide.
The guide hopes to provide business advisers such as accountants, bookkeepers, tax agents, industry associations and family and friends, with the tools they need to be able to provide support to small business owners struggling with mental health.
The guide includes helpful information on how to recognise the signs of poor mental health and how to provide immediate support to a small business owner who is distressed. It also features practical tips for small business owners to improve their mental health.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said one in three small business owners are experiencing high levels of stress due to social isolation, working long hours the guide and financial worries.
“These factors can sometimes increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression,” Harmon said.
[TRIGGER WARNING] The following video discusses depression and suicidal ideation.
“Small business owners have told Beyond Blue they want mental health resources to be available through their business networks so they can access the information through established and trusted contacts.
Harmon suggested the guide would provide advisers the tools they need to support their clients during times of financial hardship.
“Advisers often see first-hand how stress can affect small business owners, to play an important support role that goes beyond advice on accounts and assets. It can also help the loved ones of small business owners to provide support when work is getting on top of them.”
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Australia CEO Amanda Linton said the guide will allow small business advisers to be proactive in helping clients take control of their mental health.
“It means advisers can have a balanced conversation and realise while they can’t fix everything, they can be part of the solution by pointing their clients in the right direction,” Ms Linton said.
“The guide empowers business advisers to give someone else the tools to develop a support network, which is something I never had access to when I was running my own business.”
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners.
“I commend Beyond Blue for taking a holistic approach to supporting our small business community,” Carnell said.
“Many small business owners may not be aware that the very worries that are keeping them up at night – be it cash flow, customer demands or paying suppliers – can actually cause high levels of psychological distress and have serious impacts on their mental and physical health.
“Their trusted advisers are in a good position to notice if their client is struggling to cope with these issues and to start that important conversation about their mental health.”
Download a copy of the guide here
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, help is avallable at the Beyond Blue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM – 12AM AEST or email responses within 24 hours)