Here at SmartCompany, we know running a business can feel like a lonely endeavour that causes many mental health struggles, especially when the pressure is on.
Over the past couple of years, bushfires, floods and COVID-19 have conspired to create a particularly difficult environment. And, while we’ve been blown away by the resilience shown by the small business and startup communities, we know things aren’t getting better for everyone.
We also know these things aren’t easy to talk about.
If you’re feeling stress, anxiety or depression, or if you simply want to check in with yourself and get your troubles off your chest, here are some of the dedicated resources available for small business owners and startup founders.
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My Business Health
An initiative from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, My Business Health is designed to help entrepreneurs manage stressful situations.
That includes offering tools and tips for managing your mental wellbeing. The site can direct you to find support following natural disasters, including floods, bushfires and drought.
You can also access a five-minute wellbeing checkup, to help gauge where you’re at, and connect to professional support services if required.
Beyond blue has several routes for accessing support specially tailored to small business owners.
You can also access specific COVID-19 mental wellbeing advice here, or access the dedicated support service on: 1800 512 348.
NewAccess for Small Business Owners
Launched earlier this month, NewAccess for Small Business Owners is a free and confidential program offering six sessions with a mental health coach who has a small business background.
Those sessions will include an initial assessment, and will be tailored to each individual’s needs. The goal is to end up with a mental health and wellbeing plan, developed together, specifically for you.
The service is available to any small business owner aged over 18, who has 20 or fewer employees.
Offered over the phone or video chat, the service is currently available until March 2022.
BeyondBlue’s HeadsUp site offers resources relating to wellbeing in the workplace, including support to help small business owners look after their own mental health and that of their employees.
The site includes tips and tools for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, plus ideas for maintaining personal wellbeing, and next steps if you’re struggling.
Ahead for Business
An initiative from Everymind and funded by the federal government, Ahead for Business offers a hub of multimedia resources, including podcasts, videos, articles and case studies, all designed to offer mental health support to small business owners.
The site also has resources helping entrepreneurs come up with personalised mental health action plans, plus a forum allowing people to connect online and share their issues and concerns.
There’s also a stressor screening tool, designed to help identify red flags, learn how to deal with them, and allow users to save their results and track improvements.
Victorian Small Business Commission
The Victorian government implemented a Wellbeing and Mental Health for Victorian Businesses initiative, which, as of February, moved into its second phase.
This provided additional funding to allow associations representing industries that were still badly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to employ a mental health specialist and help support businesses in that sector.
Associations such as the Hair and Beauty Association, the Australian Hotels Association and the Australian Retailers Association were able to employ a mental health specialist through the scheme.
Under the wellbeing initiative, Victorian businesses are also able to access the Partners in Wellbeing hotline, offering free and confidential mental health support and financial counselling.
You can reach the hotline on: 1300 375 330, between 9am and 10pm on weekdays, and between 9am and 5pm on weekends.
If you or someone you know is at risk, contact:
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636;
Lifeline on 13 11 14;
Headspace on 1800 650 890; or
The Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
You can also reach Beyond Blue’s COVID-19 support line on 1800 512 348.