As employers, retailers and small business owners, mental health challenges are often not far away.
Sometimes, we don’t know we are experiencing a mental health challenge while other times it’s obvious and on show for all to see. The same is true of any individual in the business.
At Tower Systems through our work with many retail businesses over many years we have been able to see first-hand business situations lead to mental health situations. the advice we share here has evolved over these years and based on advice of professionals in the mental health area.
How we respond to mental health challenges in business is important for for the business, those who rely on it and those it serves.
While we are not trained professionals in the area, our years of working with small business owners confronted by challenges to their mental health have helped us develop some guiding principles.
- Mental health is not easily measured or understood. One’s health is not outwardly obvious.
- Judgement cannot be part of how mental health is viewed or dealt with.
- Action is essential to improve your situation for doing nothing will achieve nothing.
- While taking the first step to confront mental health challenges can be difficult, it is relieving and rewarding.
Your GP is an excellent person to speak with. Our advice is that if you suspect there is a mental health challenge, contacting the GP is an important and immediate step.
A GP may suggest preparing a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This is a government recognised and Medicare funded plan for professional help. It can usually be prepared in a single double visit to the GP. This plan is the trigger to you gaining Medicare supported access to a psychologist for an initial number of visits, which can be extended depending on your situation.
Some people can feel a visit to a GP or psychologist is not warranted in their situation. While the medical professionals are the best to determine this, there are other resources you could explore:
Beyond Blue has published Business In Mind, a useful resource for small businesses on issues relating to mental health in the workplace. This is a good starting point for learning more. In the resource there are links to other resources that can help.
Finding mental health resources for small business owners dealing with mental health issues is not as easy as it is finding resources for managing the workplace for better mental health. It’s tough running any business and sometimes things can feel overwhelming. This is where networking can help as a first step, talking with others.
Small business owners feeling challenges within themselves need to treat themselves as employees and use the resources available such as:
- beyondbluesupport line – 1300 22 4636
- SANE Australia Helpline – 1800 187 263
- Mensline Australia – 1300 789 978
In our day to day work with small business retailers, especially though contact o the health desk, we can ourselves encounter people under considerable stress and, sometimes, experiencing a mental health challenge. We provide training to our team to deal with this in a way that is respectful and does not cross personal boundaries.
If you feel we can help in any way, please reach out directly to anyone on ur team including our leadership team.
We hope this information has been useful. It reflects concern, care and advice we offer beyond our small business POS software.