COVID has changed the global landscape; it has affected the physical and mental health of our nation and sent small business into a downward spiral.
In May 2020 research compiled by Australian Quickbooks noted that over 63% of small businesses reported being negatively impacted by COVID-19, and 32% report being concerned for their employees’ health.
While these figures are staggering, it does not even scratch the surface on how these business owners must be feeling and how they are coping.
Accountants report they are seeing the decline daily in their clients’ mental health as they deliver the financial reality of COVID to their clients. Many small business owners are now facing the possibility of losing a business they have had for many years.
Mental Health Support for Small Business
Leading associations such as the Australian and New Zealand Chartered Accountants Association are currently providing their members with a range of mental health supports including a Mental Health First Aid Guide. This will help guide clients or practitioners to supports in a time of mental health crisis.
Beyond Blue, a major mental health website that provides information and support to help Australians with their mental health, has also released a range of supports aimed at small business.
Tips to Support your Staff
Look after yourself, as staff need their leaders to guide them; also, it provides a good example for staff to follow. Here are some tips to help you as a business owner, as well as how to support your staff:
- Try to maintain perspective.
- Prioritise mental health and wellbeing in the workplace by creating a wellbeing plan.
- Ask staff “Are you OK?”
- Encourage staff to seek out colleagues, a GP or health professional if they are struggling.
- Look at websites such as Beyond Blue for mental health resources. Beyond Blue for example, offers a free program over 6 sessions of low intensity mental health coaching for small business by phone or video call.
- Check out some apps such as HeadGear or Smiling Mind.
- Have a list of Helplines and resources on your physical or virtual notice board.
Notice Board Resources
You might like to include the following on your notice board.
- 1800 respect: Ph 1800 811 811 – Provides 24-hours per day 7 days per week service to people impacted by sexual assault and domestic or family abuse.
- Lifeline: Ph 13 11 44 – Free 24-hour service 7 days per week telephone counselling. Web chat avail 7 pm to midnight. Text counselling available 12pm to midnight on 0477 13 11 44.
- Kids Helpline: Ph 1800 55 1800 – Kids Helpline is a free Australian telephone and online counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25.
- Mensline: Ph 1300 78 99 78 – Free 24-hour service 7 days per week provided by qualified counsellors who specialise in family and relationship issues, including relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, parenting, family violence, suicide prevention and emotional well-being.
- Gamblers Hotline: Ph 1800 858 858 is a free, confidential telephone help service which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- National Debt Helpline: Ph 1800 007 007 Weekdays 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free professional financial counsellors; website https://ndh.org.au/.
- QLife: Ph 1800 184 527. Webchat operates from 3pm – 12 am every day. QLife services are free and include both telephone and webchat support, delivered by trained LGBTI community members across the country.
- Apps: Smiling Mind, HeadGear.
- Websites: Beyond Blue, Sane, Black Dog, Head to Health.
Author: Maree Stevens, BAdVocEd; GCert Sp Ed; M SocWk; M HumServ; GDipCouns; GCert MentalHlthPrac.
Maree Stevens is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with several years’ experience working with people affected by mental health conditions and associated poor sleep.
Maree is currently not taking bookings. Our team can assist you with placing you with another clinician. Please call Vision Psychology on (07) 3088 5422.