We all know that now is a tough time to be a small business owner. Maybe you can’t operate your business at all due to restrictions, maybe everything has turned on its head because everyone is working from home, maybe you’re feeling the effects of your supply chain being disrupted, or maybe you’re open but having to comply with public health measures like QR codes, masks, and cleaning.
R U OK? Day is about having that difficult conversation with those around you about their mental health. R U OK?’s website contains plenty of great resources and guides to help you have that conversation, but as far as we can tell there’s nothing specific for small business owners. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of resources designed to help small business owners with their mental well-being, as well as a few to help small business advisers help their small business clients.
In cases where someone has been feeling very down for an extended period of time (R U OK cites 2 weeks), you should encourage them to see a health professional like their GP. And for immediate mental health crisis support, contact Lifeline on 131114.
R U OK? - This website contains conversation role play videos, signs that it’s time to ask someone if they’re OK, tips on getting ready to ask, how to ask, and what to do after you’ve asked. There are also resources designed for the workplace which may be useful for employers who are not experiencing mental health issues themselves but are concerned about their employees.
My Business Health – This website managed by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman compiles a range of resources to give small business owners easy access to tools, templates, and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with running their business. In addition to advice for planning a mentally healthier business, you can find tips on keeping the business afloat, staffing, workplace health and safety, dispute resolution, and more.
Ahead for Business – This website contains mental health resources and tools tailored to small business owners, including mental health check-up tools as well as a wealth of free articles, podcasts, videos, and case studies. For example, their 2-minute business stress test assesses how small business owners are managing the typical stressors faced by business owners and gives them tips and tools based on their responses. This site also has resources for people who want to know how they can support someone else.
New Access for Small Business Owners – In this free program by Beyond Blue, mental health coaches with a small business background provide participating small business owners six sessions of low-intensity cognitive behavourial therapy that allows them to recognise the way they think, act, and feel, and break unhelpful thoughts.
Counting on u – This program by Deakin University Business School provides training in mental health first aid to business advisers such as accountants, bookkeepers, and financial. You can even get CPD points for it.