As employers, as retailers and as small business owners, mental health issues are often not far away from any small business retailer. The challenges confronting retail businesses today add to the challenges already there.
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.
How we confront mental health challenges is important for us, our business and those presenting with issues.
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. 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 Heads Up 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
We will help and support in any way possible. We would be glad to talk confidentially about individual situations.