The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the initiative, noting that small and family business operators face a range of challenges and stressors that can have a significant impact on their mental health.
Long hours, feeling isolated, worries about cash flow and business decisions — running a small business can take its toll,” Ms Carnell explained.
“Many small and family business owners may not be aware that those everyday worries can actually cause high levels of psychological distress. That can have a serious impact on both mental and physical health.”
Results from the Australian Psychological Society Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey reveal that small business operators had higher prevalence of depression symptoms than the national average.
Additionally, 77 per cent of small businesses surveyed believed there is a need for more specialised support to address mental ill-heath within the small business sector.
“Mental health is a serious issue for Australia’s small business community with the Productivity Commission’s draft report into mental health finding the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism to the sector is over $17 billion per year,” Ms Carnell said.
“We know that it makes good business sense to invest in workplace wellbeing, with every dollar spent on creating a mentally healthy workplace providing solid return on investment.
“Unfortunately, concerns about stigma make some reluctant to seek help when needed and can leave people feeling ashamed and alone.
“Despite the wealth of online information, it can be hard for small business owners to know where to turn for business support. This is why My Business Health is such an important resource,” Ms Carnell said.
The My Business Health portal gives small business owners tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with running their business. It covers managing cash flow, staff, business relationships and provides access to resources on reaching out for help.
Developed in consultation with Beyond Blue, Everymind, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and small business owner and advocate Ms Leanne Faulkner, the portal was launched in December 2019.
- My Business Health website
- Australian Psychological Society Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey