What’s the best way to talk to employees about mental health? What does the law say about mental health conditions in workplaces? Are there strategies you can use to make your business a mentally healthy one?
What about your own mental health as a business owner or leader?
For most people who own or manage a small business, it’s fair to say these questions, and countless others, will present themselves at some point in time. But it can be difficult to know where to turn for answers.
Whether it’s for one of your employees, or for yourself, there is an increasing number of places you can look online to find resources to help.
Here’s a list of useful resources to get you started.
Heads Up is an initiative developed by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and beyondblue, and supported by key members of the Australian business community, including the Council of Small Business of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia.
At Heads Up, you’ll find a wealth of resources for both employers and employees, with a dedicated section for small business operators and personal stories from business owners sharing their experiences with mental health. Business can sign up for free to access a leadership kit and action plan to start making changes.
Business in Mind is a portal dedicated to Australian SMEs and the mental health questions they may face running their businesses, developed by beyondblue with a number of partners, including the University of Tasmania and Griffith University. There’s information about common mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, as well as resources that cover the legal obligations of small businesses and what they need to know in the event an employee discloses their mental health concerns to them.
The Black Dog Institute started out in the mid-1980s as a clinical research facility to assist people with mental illness, and this grounding in research continues today with the Institute’s dedicated training programs for workplaces. In addition to information about the Institute’s customised workplace training programs, the Black Dog Institute’s website also offers a free downloadable toolkit for managers and employees wanting to learn more about mental health at work.
The office of Australia’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is another important source of support for small business owners experiencing mental health concerns, either themselves or among their team. As well as providing information about how to recognise the signs of mental illnesses, the Ombudsman’s website also sets out some practical steps business owners can take to address any concerns and contains information about how to deal with other business concerns that may be causing undue stress, such as disputes.
Everymind, formerly known as the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, is a national organisation that provides mental health and suicide prevention programs. The Institute is currently conducting a research project into the mental health and wellbeing needs of small businesses across New South Wales. On the Institute’s website, you can access mental health and suicide prevention resources, as well as read the organisation’s latest research into workplace mental health.
Founded in 2008, Mates in Construction is a charity that aims to reduce the number of suicides among Australian construction workers. The organisation offers on-site training and accreditation for building and construction sites, as well as case management services and critical incident support.
Australian government departments and agencies are increasingly offering resources for business owners experiencing mental health concerns, as well as flexibility for meeting administrative requirements. The Australian Taxation Office website also has more information for business operators who may need to arrange tailored payment plans or payment and lodgement deferrals.
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organisation that provides mindfulness meditation tools and resources to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. There are dedicated workplace programs for employers and employees, although everyone in a business may benefit from using the Smiling Mind app.