Heads Up unveils small business mental health advice

ASBFEO backs support for owners facing psychological distress and their contacts

Heads Up unveils small business mental health advice
Part of the publication’s cover


Workplace mental health initiative Heads Up has launched an initiative focused on small business owners.

Heads Up, developed by Beyond Blue and supported by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, has released a guide, headlined Supporting small business owners to improve their mental health and wellbeing at work, for the task.

It points out that small business owners face "many challenges that can affect their mental health, including long work hours, social isolation, customer demands, cash flow issues, work-life balance, job insecurity, lack of administrative support and more".

And often work contacts, friends or family members are in the best position to "detect worrying changes in behaviour" and recognise issues affecting the business that may be detrimental to the owner’s mental health and wellbeing.

The guide outlines actions that can be taken including:

  • who to contact for immediate support
  • what are the symptoms of poor mental health and wellbeing
  • how to speak with someone you’re concerned about
  • how to help small business owners take action
  • how to look after your own mental health

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), Kate Carnell, has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners.

Read about a remote transport mental health initiative, here


Her organisation points out that the free online guide provides business advisers, such as accountants, bookkeepers and industry association representatives, with practical tips about how to support their clients and members.

"I commend Beyond Blue for taking a holistic approach to supporting our small business community," Carnell says.

"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.

"Their trusted advisers are in a good position to notice if their client is struggling to cope with these issues and to start that important conversation about their mental health.

"The guide is easy to navigate and provides business advisers with the tools they need to support their clients, without formal training in counselling.

"We know it makes good business sense to invest in wellbeing. Research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers has shown that every dollar spent on creating a mentally health workplace results in a positive return on investment of 2.3."

The publication can be found here.

Resources for small business owners can be found here.

Beyond Blue can be called on 1300 22 4636.


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