Mental illness is a daily tragedy in Australia, and for our 2.2 million small businesses, the issue has reached a crisis point that demands urgent action.
The prevalence of mental health issues among small business owners in Australia is more than double the national average. More than half (56%) of Australia’s entrepreneurs are struggling, compared to one-in-five people in the broader population.
These are not just numbers. Mental health is a daily tragedy in Australia. More than half of Australians suffering from mental illness never seek help, and six people take their own lives in our country every day.
Today is R U Okay? Day, an opportunity for business owners to encourage their staff to talk about their own struggles with mental health, but also a chance for entrepreneurs themselves to talk to each other.
SmartCompany encourages all business owners and founders to reach out to others in the community today, tomorrow and next week. One question can be a life-changing fork in the road for those that need it most.
It’s time to ask R U OK? if you notice a change, no matter how small, in your friends, family and peers. Learn more about the signs that it’s time to start a conversation at https://t.co/s9v4FaB1yR #RUOK #RUOKDay #TrusttheSigns pic.twitter.com/Ii62NCNEfY
— R U OK? (@ruokday) September 11, 2019
Running a small business can feel like an all-encompassing task, whether it’s a feeling of responsibility to staff when cashflow is tight, or trying to plan ahead in the early hours after a day keeping the wheels turning.
It isn’t easy, but you aren’t alone. Help is available for anyone, business owner or otherwise, struggling with mental illness, should they want it.
No-one has to suffer in silence, and there’s no such thing as toughing it out.
Many of the most successful founders in Australia have their own stories to tell about mental health — opening up isn’t an admission of failure, it’s an opportunity to pave the way for a brighter future.
It’s a future every small business owner and their staff deserve, but this is a crisis Australia’s SME community can only tackle with solidarity, support and advocacy.
But more support is needed, and that extends beyond mental health resources. Survey after survey has demonstrated the link between small businses mental health and cashflow, but late payment times remain a $7 billion problem for Australian SMEs.
Just like employees, business owners deserve to be paid in full and on time. No-one should have to wake up on Sunday morning wondering whether their suppliers have paid their bills.
Australia’s small business community is vital to our country. Business owners are some of the most hard-working and diverse members of our community. They deserve to thrive, and above all else, be happy.
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