Research published by MYOB has shown that 46 percent of small and medium sized business owners believe that running their own business has directly contributed to feelings of depression or anxiety.   

Furthermore, another 26 percent ranked mental health as an “immediate” problem in their daily life and workplace.  These figures illustrate that the pandemic is taking a toll on small business leaders beyond the economic impacts imposed upon them by lockdowns and withdrawn federal support.  

Of the business leaders surveyed, 52 percent reported feeling stress as a consequence of operating over the course of the last 12 months, these rules were up by 7 percentage points from the same period last year.  

On top of these figures, 45 percent of respondents reported experiencing anxiety, and 26 percent experienced depression, up from 20 percent from the same period last year.  

Levels of anxiety and stressed surged highest among business leaders in the retail and hospitality sectors, as 68 percent of the business leaders working across these sectors reported to be feeling stress, while 45 percent reported having experienced feelings of depression and anxiety.  

As Australia’s economy begins to recover, it is important that the country’s 2.29 million small businesses acknowledge the toll the last 18 months is likely to take on their mental health.  

Although running a small business can be very rewarding it also comes with a lot of stressors and challenges at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a pandemic2020 was incredible difficult for small businesses and the data shows owners and operators may be feeling its effects for some time to come. 

The Counting on U Program

As Australian businesses come out the other side of the pandemic and move from recovery to growth, it is important for small businesses to be aware of the tools available to them to help manage their mental health.

The Counting on U Program, is a mental health initiative which has been made freely available to members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Public Accountants, CPA Australia and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, is now open for registration after a successful pilot phase took place in February.

It is estimated that close to 5,000 members of the peak accounting and bookkeeping associations will be able to benefit from the newly announced mental health training. The program, was developed by Deakin University who collaborated with Beyond Blue, WorkSafe Victoria, Mental Health First Aid Australia and the IPA.

The purpose of the program is to offer structured training to help accountants identify, manage and prevent various mental health conditions with their Small Medium Enterprise clients. The program aims to upskill over 5,000 practitioners with mental heal first aid training by the end of 2021.

The new training program will be crucial for advisers helping businesses deal with the end of JobKeeper. Many businesses and families are staring down the barrel of long-term financial problems which can often go hand in hand with mental health difficulties.

Through the new training initiative, accountants will learn not only how to recognise the signs, but how to most importantly understand how to start a conversation with a client they are concerned about and to assist with referring them to seek professional help.

Accountants who have undertaken the training during the pilot phase have spoken of its praise. They have stated that undertaking the training has helped them identify clients in need, and how to provide support through their behaviour, speech and empathy.

Ahead For Business

The effects of the covid-19 pandemic have taken a huge toll on the mental health of many small business owners and their employees. The ongoing possibility of having to suddenly close whenever a new outbreak of covid-19 occurs means that many businesses are struggling to make a profit and are facing an uncertain future.

As a way of helping support small business owners, the federal government has introduced the “Ahead for Business” project. An initiative that supports individuals working in small business to take action on their wellbeing and mental health through a new digital hub which provides tailored resources, check-ups, peer support and personalised action plans.

“Ahead for Businesshas been created by “Everymind” one of Australia’s leading mental health institutes. The project has also received funding from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Ahead for Business has also been created in conjunction with small business owners and employees utilising their voice to showcase their experiences through videos, blogs, podcasts and case studies. The projects online hub also aims to empower small business owners to prioritise their mental health and connect with others through an online setting to express any concerns they have and to assist other small business owners who need support with their mental health throughout the pandemic.

Some of the videos included in the resources of the digital hub are related to topics such as; creating a mentally healthy small business, connecting at work, addressing the stigma around mental health and building resilience to prepare for adverse events.

To take care of your mental health it is important for small business owners to make sure they maintain a healthy work-life balance, make time for family and friends and activities you enjoy. Exercise regularly to help boost your energy levels and improve stamina, plan events ahead of time to ensure you know what’s coming up, allow yourself to say ‘no’ so you don’t over commit yourself, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily and getting enough sleep. It is also super important to find ways to relax and unwind, such as meditation, listening to music or incorporating breathing techniques into your daily routine.

The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 07 36086800. 

The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 1300 1 VAULT (1300 182 858)

Post Author: Craig Dangar

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