Published by Institute of Public Accountants
Written by Maja Garaca Djurdjevic on 3 September 2019
Almost one-third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress, Beyond Blue has revealed in a new guide targeting the mental wellbeing of small business owners.
Recognising the impact mental health hardships are having on the small business community, Beyond Blue has created a guide designed for accountants, bookkeepers, tax agents, industry associations, family and friends, with practical tips about how to provide support.
“Almost one-third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress, mainly due to long working hours, social isolation, customer demands, cash flow issues and conflicting demands between home and work,” Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said.
She explained that these factors can sometimes increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
“Small business owners have told Beyond Blue they want mental health resources to be available through their business networks so they can access the information through established and trusted contacts,” said Ms Harman.
“The guide allows advisers, who often see first-hand how stress can affect small business owners, to play an important support role that goes beyond advice on accounts and assets. It can also help the loved ones of small business owners to provide support when work is getting on top of them.”
Spinn Business Solutions founder Tim Hoopmann said the guide simplifies mental health literacy for small business advisers.
“This resource gives small business advisers and owners a great place to start,” Mr Hoopmann said.
“The guide’s ease of navigation makes it a very powerful tool that not only supports mental health, but it will also help their client’s business.”
The guide also provides links to resources such as personal and workplace wellbeing plans, actions that small business owners can take themselves, and tips on how small business advisers can look after their own mental health.
Ombudsman backs mental health support
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners.
“I commend Beyond Blue for taking a holistic approach to supporting our small business community,” Ms Carnell said.
“Many small business owners may not be aware that the very worries that are keeping them up at night – be it cash flow, customer demands or paying suppliers – can actually cause high levels of psychological distress and have serious impacts on their mental and physical health.”
Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown that every dollar spent on creating a mentally healthy workplace results in a positive return on investment of 2.3.