leadership

Fast Lane: Getting your small business mentally healthy

Cara Waters /

Behind successful entrepreneurs and small businesses there can be some brutal realities.

Mental health costs Australian businesses an estimated $10.9 billion annually. According to research by beyondblue, one-in-five Australian workers has taken time off work in the past year due to feeling mentally unwell.

In particular, running a small business can have a huge impact on your mental health due to the financial pressure, blurred boundaries between work and home, and sheer isolation.

It’s a topic we’ve covered before at SmartCompany, speaking to entrepreneurs who were “driving to work in tears” and became obsessed with their business, thinking about it “24/7”.

If you haven’t suffered mental health issues yourself, consider whether your staff has.

Research shows almost half of Australians who take time off work due to depression do not tell their employers why. There is help available.

In recognition of the pressure many small businesses are under, beyondblue is offering heavily subsidised workplace training sessions to all Australian SMEs with up to 199 employees.

For as little as $300 you can have mental health professionals attend your business and train you and an unlimited number of staff about depression and anxiety, the impact of these conditions and how to support colleagues who may be struggling.

All too often mental health is a topic that is taboo. One of the best things we can do in the small business community is to bring these problems out in the open and support each other.

Training from beyondblue is just one way to do this at your small business. At SmartCompany, we’re going to keep writing about mental health.

Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help keep this important conversation going.

To learn more about depression and anxiety in the workplace, call beyondblue on (03) 9810 6100 or visit www.headsup.org.au.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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