Free small business mental health guide

By Sarah Stowe | 02 Sep 2019 View comments

Franchisors and franchisees can support mental health and wellbeing in their small business owners with a new free online guide.

The Beyond Blue guide, Supporting small business owners to improve their mental health and wellbeing at work, provides practical tips such as:

  • How to provide immediate support to a small business owner who is distressed
  • Recognising the signs of poor mental health
  • Planning and having a conversation with someone you’re concerned about
  • What to do if the person doesn’t want to talk about their mental health
  • How small business owners can improve their situation.

Ninety-seven per cent of businesses in Australia are small businesses employing up to 19 people. Small business owners can face a number of challenges in starting and running a business, which can impact their mental health.

Small business mental health support

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said the guide was designed for advisers, families and friends because they were often the first to notice when small business owners experience mental health challenges.

“Almost one third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress, mainly due to long working hours, social isolation, customer demands, cash flow issues and conflicting demands between home and work,” Harman said.

“These factors can sometimes increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. 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.

“The guide allows advisers, who 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.”

The guide also provides links to resources such as personal and workplace wellbeing plans, actions that small business owners can take themselves, and tips on how small business advisers can look after their own mental health.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners.

“The guide is easy to navigate and provides business advisers with the tools they need to support their clients, without formal training in counselling.

“We know it makes good business sense to invest in wellbeing. Research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers has shown that every dollar spent on creating a mentally health workplace results in a positive return on investment of 2.3.”

The guide is available for download at bb.org.au/supportingsmallbusiness.