Mental health challenges are often close by in small business retail. While not always seen, they are there, and in need of attention. Whether being experienced by customers, team members, suppliers or business owners, mental health challenges are impacting our businesses.

The test for any business owner is how it deals with mental health … identifying challenges, supporting those experiencing them and supporting those impacted in other ways.

While we are not trained professionals in the area, our years of working with small business owners confronted by mental health challenges have helped us develop some guiding principles.

  1. Mental health is not easily measured or understood. One’s mental health is not outwardly obvious.
  2. Judgement cannot be part of how mental health is viewed or dealt with.
  3. Action is essential to improve your situation for doing nothing will achieve nothing.
  4. While taking the first step to confront mental health challenges can be difficult, it is relieving and rewarding.

here are our thoughts specifically for business owners confronting their own mental health concerns …

Your general practitioner is an excellent person to speak with. Explain to them how you feel and how this impacts on your life. Ask them to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This is a government recognised plan. 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:

We will help and support as much as we are able and to the extent we are made aware of any situation.